UW News

May 22, 2020

How cloth face masks protect people during the pandemic

UW News

Beginning May 18, King County is asking people to wear face coverings in most public settings. The directive states that people should wear a face covering at any indoor or outdoor public space where they may be within 6 feet of someone who does not live with them.

Hilary Godwin is the dean of the UW School of Public Health and a professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. She answers questions about the directive and shares information about using face coverings, including what kinds of masks are appropriate to wear and how they protect people.

The new recommendations reflect the knowledge that people can have COVID-19 without showing symptoms. Masks primarily help protect other people in the event that you have COVID-19 and don’t know it. By covering your nose and mouth, masks limit the spread of droplets from coughs and sneezes.

Godwin said it’s a good idea to wear a mask when leaving home if it will be difficult to maintain a distance of 6 feet or more from other people, such as at a grocery store or crowded outdoor area.

More information:
Video producer Kiyomi Taguchi: ktaguchi@uw.edu or 206-685-2716

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