On Thursday, US Vice President Mike Pence said that updated CDC guidance on wearing face coverings and masks will be made public in the next several days.
The members of the Coronavirus Task Force will work it through, take the advice of CDC staff and health workers, he said during a daily briefing on the COVID-19 situation. "We'll bring it forward in the next several days", he added.
According to the White House's coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx, the new advisory, if it comes out, will not be a substitute for the earlier presidential guidelines but rather an "additive" piece.
"We don’t want people to get an artificial sense of protection because they’re behind a mask. Because if they’re touching things — remember your eyes are not in the mask — so if you’re touching things and then touching your eyes you're exposing yourself in the same way", she added. "This worries us, and that’s why the debate is continuing about the mask."
In March, officials at the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were considering altering COVID-19 prevention guidelines to recommend that all people cover their faces in public amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The debate on whether all Americans should wear facemasks in public places is still underway.
Thomas Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security, issued a recommendation to wear non-medical face coverings when going into public places.
My hope is that @CDCgov comes out w specific recommendation for public to wear masks soon. Recommending non-medical mask use for the public for anyone going into public indoor spaces where they will interact with other people. 12/x— Tom Inglesby (@T_Inglesby) April 1, 2020
The benefits of wearing homemade masks are uncertain, Jeffrey Duchin, a top health official in Seattle and King County, Washington, claims.
Use of homemade, non-medical masks by public not inconsistent with CDC guidance and although benefits uncertain, likely little risk. https://t.co/lQTA8Lm7tk— Jeffrey Duchin (@DocJeffD) March 31, 2020
As of 2 April, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States has surpassed 213,144, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 4,500 people have died from the pandemic. The John Hopkins University data shows that over 244,000 people in the country have been infected with the disease, with the death toll exceeding 5,800.