The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its guidance on the use of face masks on Friday. For the first time, the agency said Americans should wear face masks whenever they are indoors and not at home. The guidance on “universal use of face masks” went on to recommend people wear masks even at home if someone at their house is infected or may have been exposed to the virus—which includes being in crowded public settings, traveling, and more.
The U.S. is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths that is expected to intensity over the winter months. More than 270,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 14 million have been infected. The CDC did not recommend use of face masks for the general public until this past April. The current guidance also suggests, “A community-level plan for distribution of face masks to specific populations, such as those who might experience barriers to access, should be developed.”