The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising everyone, whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19, to cover their face with a mask or cloth covering whenever social distancing is difficult to maintain.

This guideline is applicable in places where people congregate, including grocery stores and public transportation.

The recommendations are brought in place as evidence shows that COVID-19 can be transmitted by a person’s exhalations and normal speech but also the fact that people are not effectively covering their sneezes and coughs.

The modalities of virus transmission (even in pre-symptomatic cases) are via breathing, talking, shouting, singing, coughing or sneezing.

The virus is also spread via direct contact or touching of contaminated surfaces as the virus can live in the steel and plastic surfaces for as long as 3 days.


A surgical mask or a cloth mask, both can come in handy when trying to protect ourselves or others from catching or spreading the virus. Studies have shown that these masks prevent the droplets from the environment to reach the user. Similarly, they can also prevent diseased individuals from releasing the virus into the surrounding and infecting others. However, since these masks are not full proof, as the droplets can reach us through the gaps, the best way to prevent the spread is the social distancing of at least 6 feet when possible. 

An N-95 mask is not needed if you wear face-covering when you go out in a public and practice good physical distancing. Health care workers have to care for their COVID-19 patients within very close distances for prolonged periods of time and they are the ones who need N-95 masks.

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