The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 2 years of age and older wear a cloth face covering that covers their nose and mouth in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

Cloth face coverings should NOT be put on babies or children younger than 2 years of age because of the danger of suffocation. Children younger than 2 years of age are listed as an exception as well as anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.

Wearing cloth face coverings is a public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to (not instead of) social distancing, frequent hand washing, and other everyday preventive actions. Medical face masks and N95 respirators are still reserved for healthcare personnel and other first responders.

Masks protect both the wearer and others. Masks are a simple barrier to help prevent your respiratory droplets from reaching others. Studies show that masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. A cloth face mask also offers you some protection too and how well it protects you from breathing the virus in depends on the fabric used and how the mask is made.

For more information about face coverings/masks and how to make your own, visit the CDC’s website.

More specifics on face coverings from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services can be found here.

Until a significant portion of our population is vaccinated, we will all need to continue some preventative measures such as wearing masks, social distancing, and handwashing to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Our best protection from COVID-19 is to complete the vaccine series.

Sources:
CDC: Cloth Face Coverings
CDC: COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
MDHHS: Face Coverings Frequently Asked Questions