Are masks effective in preventing coronavirus transmission? Why?

Thanks for your question. Face masks serve two main purposes in preventing coronavirus transmission:

  1. They help protect you from getting infected with coronavirus.
  2. They help you protect others from getting infected with coronavirus.

We now know that people can spread coronavirus before they have any symptoms, which means wearing a mask even if you are feeling well helps prevent the spread of coronavirus.

It’s important to know that there are different types of masks, including cloth masks, surgical masks (some people also call them medical masks), and N95 respirator masks. Studies show that in communities (i.e. towns, states, countries) where people regularly wore a face mask coronavirus rates increased more slowly, and less people died from coronavirus.

Here are a few tips on how to use a mask:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds (or use hand sanitizer) before and after putting on and taking off your cloth mask
  • Make sure the mask covers your mouth and nose
  • Don’t touch your mask while wearing it. If you accidentally touch it, make sure to wash your hands.
  • Make sure to wash your cloth mask with soap and water regularly.

For more information about cloth masks:

Also please remember that physical social distancing (6 feet apart or more) and frequent hand washing are still important in preventing coronavirus transmission.​