According to a story in the Washington Post citing two unnamed federal officials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is re-exploring whether all people should now use some sort of mouth and nose protective covering.

For weeks, federal officials initially told Americans not to buy masks because they said the face masks wouldn't prevent healthy people from contracting the virus. On February 29, Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted, "Seriously, people --STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing the general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare [sic] providers can't get them to care for sick patients it puts them and our communities at risk!" What's more, the CDC and mainstream media supported Adams' declaration.

Now, it seems the narrative is changing on whether everyone should wear a homemade mask or facial covering when they're out in public. But why this re-evaluation?

The CDC warned that healthy people shouldn't wear them because it wouldn't protect them from anything. I remember reading that face masks might actually increase your risk if you didn't wear them properly, but healthcare professionals would be screened. I couldn't understand it. The government actually claimed that masks only work for health care professionals but not for healthy citizens? It got me thinking, since when does a pandemic have regard for a person's occupation?

So now there's a debate going on. If people wear them, would it lull them into a false sense of security and make folks less disciplined about social distancing? Would wearing a mask help keep people from touching their faces, one of the main recommendations for preventing coronavirus transmission?

There's no consensus on whether widespread use would make a significant difference. The CDC should get their act together on this.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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