COVID-19: Cloth Face Coverings, What You Need to Know

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is consistently studying the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States.  We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.  This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. The CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in settings where other social distancing measures, like staying six feet apart, are difficult to maintain.

 Understand, however, that cloth face coverings don’t do much to protect the wearer. The virus is sometimes carried by tiny particles that easily pass through cloth. But a cloth face covering does help protect other people if the wearer has the virus and doesn’t know it. A cloth face mask can catch the big droplets from coughs and sneezes. It also slows down the tiny particles, so they don’t project as far.

Cloth face coverings are only one part of a comprehensive plan for protecting people who have to be at work. For more information on such programs, visit usw.org/covid19

How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering

The CDC website, linked below, shows several ways to make a cloth face covering.

Sterilizing/Cleaning a Cloth Face Covering

Make sure the face coverings are able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to the shape. There has been a lot of false information released about cleaning cloth face coverings; including microwaving and sealing in a Ziplock bag. This could cause damage to the covering and might not even work. A washing machine or hand-washing with soap and hot water works well.  

Please refer to the CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html for additional information.