Nov 10, 2020 - Health

CDC: Masks protect wearers as well as others from coronavirus

Kids wearing facemasks

Photo: Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

If you wear a mask, you're protecting yourself as well as others from COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an update on Tuesday.

Why it matters: "Adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns, especially if combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and adequate ventilation," per the CDC.

"Experimental and epidemiological data support community masking to reduce the spread ... Individual benefit increases with increasing community mask use."
  • It is the strongest message yet on the importance of wearing face coverings to protect against the coronavirus.

Of note: Face masks became a partisan issue earlier in the year, but it has become less so as the pandemic rages on. Polls show a majority of Democrats and Republicans support wearing face coverings in public spaces.

  • President-elect Joe Biden has implored people to wear face coverings, saying on Monday: "A mask is not a political statement, but it is a good way to start pulling the country together."
  • President Trump and his allies have said the issue is one of individual responsibility.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases are surging across the U.S., which surpassed 10 million confirmed infections on Monday.

  • The U.S. hit a record-high 130,989 new cases on Tuesday, while the number of people in hospitals across the country with the virus reached a peak of 61,964.

Go deeper: Universal mask use could save 130,000 lives in U.S.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details, including the stance of Biden and Trump on masks.

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