More data showing people without symptoms are fueling the spread of coronavirus have top officials rethinking whether the general public should be wearing masks.
New data out of Iceland shows 50% of those who tested positive said they were asymptomatic.
In the US, an estimated 25% of coronavirus carriers have no symptoms, said the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“One of the (pieces of) information that we have pretty much confirmed now is that a significant number of individuals that are infected actually remain asymptomatic. That may be as many as 25%,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told NPR.
More than 186,000 people in the US have been infected with coronavirus, and at least 3,888 have died.
To prevent further spread, the top infectious disease expert in the US says health officials are reconsidering guidance on face masks.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said he would “lean towards” recommending that the general public wear face masks “if we do not have the problem of taking away masks from the health care workers who need them.”
“We’re not there yet, but I think we’re close to coming
If federal officials recommend widespread use of face masks, it would be a stark reversal from recommendations by the World Health Organization and the CDC, who have said face masks should only be worn by health care workers, those who are sick, and those who are taking care of someone sick.
“There is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any potential benefit,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO health emergencies program, said Monday.
“In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest the opposite in the misuse of wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly.”
3 tips for wearing a mask correctly
US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams had consistently recommended the public not wear masks, saying they can cause more harm than good.
But this week, new information about asymptomatic spread could change public guidelines, Adams said. He offered several tips on how wear masks correctly.