The World Health Organization purports to be the world’s foremost authority on all things health-related, but the dizzying series of reversals on coronavirus makes it hard to know what to believe.
The WHO on Friday reversed earlier guidance that masks to slow the spread of the virus should only be worn by those that were sick or caretakers of those that were sick.
WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced that the organization is now recommending that everyone wear masks in public when social distancing is not possible.
“In light of evolving evidence, the WHO advises that governments should encourage the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult, such as on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments,” said Tedros.
Though many in the US are already wearing face masks in public as a matter of course, Tedros also advised that not just any face covering is adequate for slowing the transmission of the virus.
Tedros advised people to wear a “fabric mask – that is, a non-medical mask,” that should consist of “at least three layers of different material.”
Though much of the world is emerging from coronavirus lockdowns, the New York Post noted on Friday that in some places, coronavirus infection rates are accelerating, indicating that the pandemic is not over. “[worldwide], the number of new cases topped 100,000 for nine of the past 10 days. In April, new cases never topped 100,000 in one day,” the Post reported.