Trump Recommends Hospitals Reuse Face Masks Helping Prevent Coronavirus Spread
President Donald Trump suggested Saturday that healthcare workers reuse face masks due to a supply shortage caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“I have to tell you, the throwing away of the masks, being in private business, the throwing away of the mask right away, they’re throwing it away,” Trump said the coronavirus briefing.
He continued, “We have very good liquids for doing this, sanitizing the masks, and that that’s something they’re starting to do more and more. They’re sanitizing the masks.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines about coronavirus do mention “limited re-use of facemasks,” but warns “it is unknown what the potential for contact transmission is” for coronavirus and notes “not all facemasks can be re-used.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, emphasized during the briefing that hospitals should refer to CDC guidelines regarding reusing masks but did not contradict Trump’s idea.
“There are CDC guidances about how you can minimize the use of masks by different things that you could do with testing and when you have masks, how you might reuse them, which ones you can reuse,” Fauci said.
However, resuing masks is not the ideal solution.
“The goal is not to reuse masks,” said Lucy Wilson, chair of the department of emergency health services at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. “It’s really a stopgap measure for the mask shortage that we’re having, but it’s not the best practice. The best practice would be single-use.”