Wearing face masks in public could become new normal in the US

Wearing face masks in public could become new normal in the US

The use of surgical face masks has been the norm in many Asian countries over the last two months, especially in China following the outbreak of Covid-19 in Wuhan.

But for citizens in Western nations like Australia and the United States the concept of leaving the house with a face mask on is still quite an alien concept.

As new information pertaining to how Covid-19 spreads becomes available, the US is considering changing its guidelines around the use of face masks.

According to TIME, The New York Times and the Washington Post, the US Federal Government is expected to advise all Americans to wear cloth masks in public.

Until now US citizens have been told to only wear a face mask in public if they are sick or expressing symptoms of Covid-19. As new concerns arise about Covid-19 spreading by infected people who have no symptoms the Federal Government is considering ramping up its response.

At a White House briefing on Thursday evening US time President Trump told reporters to expect clarification around mask regulations soon.

While the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to encourage wearing face masks for all citizens Trump says the guidance will be entirely voluntary.

"If people want to wear them, they can," said Trump.

Whether Australia will follow in the footsteps of the US is yet to be clear.

Updated at 12:22PM AEDT on 3 April 2020.

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