The European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) has changed guidelines on the use of masks, admitting that they can be used by those who are not sick. A hypothesis especially intended for when someone visits spaces with a lot of people or closed, such as shops, shopping centers, supermarkets or, among others, on public transport.
In a new document published this Wednesday, the European Union center that advises States on matters related to public health opens the door to the use of these masks in a more generic way than before, although not as generic as in Asian countries or even in the United States of America, whose authorities recently also changed their position on the matter.
ECDC now concludes that the use of masks in public can be a means of controlling the expansion of Covid-19 by individuals already infected but without symptoms, even though it is not yet known whether this measure is better or worse than others that have the same goal (halt the progress of the disease).
For the first time, ECDC refers not only to surgical masks, underlining that these should be used primarily by healthcare personnel, but also cloth masks.
“The use of non-medical masks made of various types of tissue can be considered”, especially if healthcare professionals need to be given priority in accessing surgical masks and if they are not available in sufficient quantity for everyone.
The previous recommendation is made even with ECDC admitting that the scientific evidence that exists on the effectiveness of these cloth masks is “indirect and limited”.
The European agency leaves, however, a warning: the use of masks in the community, as in other regions of the world, such as Asia, “should only be considered as a complementary measure and not a substitute for others, such as distance physical, respiratory etiquette, hand hygiene and avoid touching the face, eyes and mouth “. The use of masks correctly is also essential for it to be worth, in fact, wearing them.
Finally, any recommendation by national health authorities to wear masks in the community must carefully take into account the limited scientific evidence on the subject, the offer of masks for everyone and their potential negative effects.
There are still two days,
ECDC had responded to TSF
who continued to advise against the use of masks for those who are not sick, fearing that this could increase the risk of infection due to a false sense of security.