Donald Trump finally wears mask in public: Covering your face can cut infection risk by 65%

Donald Trump finally wears mask in public: Covering your face can cut infection risk by 65%
Donald Trump was earlier criticised for holding campaign rallies amid a global pandemic.

After months of refusing to wear face mask meant to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, Donald Trump was seen donning one during a visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Saturday. Read on to know the benefits of covering your face.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : July 13, 2020 8:38 AM IST

US President Donald Trump has been criticized by many for not taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously and disregarding the precautions recommended by health authorities and experts. But the leader now seems to have realized the severity of the disease, given the spike in COVID-19 cases in his country and around the world. On Saturday, Trump, who had previously refused to wear a mask, was seen wearing one in public for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The president was spotted wearing a mask during a visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington, where he met wounded soldiers and health care workers.

Speaking to reporters at the White House before his visit to the hospital, Trump said that he has never been against masks but there is an appropriate time and place for it. "I think when you're in a hospital, especially in that particular setting, where you're talking to a lot of soldiers and people that, in some cases, just got off the operating tables, I think it's a great thing to wear a mask," he told the reporters.

Earlier this week, the president had told a US national daily that he would wear a mask if he is in a tight situation with people. "I'm all for masks," he told the daily and added that he liked how he looked with the mask on as it makes him look like the Lone Ranger, a fictional masked hero.

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The United States has recorded more than 3 million coronavirus cases including over 1,32,000 deaths from the virus.

Why you should wear a mask in public places?

National and international health authorities, including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as WHO, recommends people to wear close-fitting cloth masks in public to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Several studies have also suggested that the facial covering can reduce the wearer's risk of becoming infected with SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Echoing the same, an American expert in infectious diseases recently claimed that wearing a facial mask can decrease a person's infection risk by 65 percent. Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at University of California Davis Children's Hospital, made the claim during a July 2 livestream hosted by UC Davis on how the virus spreads.

Blumberg cited new research, including a meta-analysis on social distancing and facial coverings published in The Lancet, as he said "masks work and are very important." According to Blumberg, respiratory droplets (which are one-third the size of a human hair) and aerosol particles (which are about 1/100th the size of a human hair) are two primary sources of transmission of the novel coronavirus. He added that masks act as an effective barrier against these potential carriers.

Even the standard rectangular surgical masks can help reduce the wearer's risk of infection by about 65 percent, he noted.

William Ristenpart, a professor of chemical engineering at UC Davis, also attended the interview, emphasized the importance of physical distancing and facial coverings. Both experts asked people to avoid indoor areas like bars and being in close proximity to others.

Accepting that SARS CoV-2 may be airborne, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also issued new guidelines, asking people to avoid crowded places, close-contact settings and confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.

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