Novel Coronavirus: Do face masks work?

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a global health emergency. As the death toll in China and people infected around the world rises, the public has been hoarding face masks because of fear.

Courtesy ABC News

But do wearing face masks work?

According to experts, including the Centres for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC), it is not recommended for the general public to wear face masks. Wearing masks does not guarantee a person to not be infected of the virus.

Surgical face masks should only be worn by those who have been infected by the virus, might have been infected, and those who have been living or caring for persons who have the virus. People who have not been exposed to the virus are not required to wear face masks, experts say.

And because people are now driven with fear of this new coronavirus, local drug stores and retailers have been selling out face masks. The demand just keeps getting higher. However, medical experts are advising the public of more effective ways to prevent the spread of the virus. These include proper hand-washing, covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough, and overall good hygiene.

As of now, Canada has three confirmed cases of the virus and the first patient who was treated at Sunnybrook has been sent home and is continuously monitored as his condition improves.

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