LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — To wear or not to wear a mask? The debate continues as to whether a mask effectively combats the coronavirus across our country. The CDC is now considering a recommendation for everyone to wear one.
Masks are becoming a common sight across the country as people try to protect themselves from the coronavirus. As the virus continues spreading, federal officials are now discussing a recommendation to ask everyone to cover their faces.
"Getting a much broader community-wide use of masks outside of the health care setting is under very active discussion,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said.
President Trump agreeing with the idea but doesn’t want competition with hospitals for medical supplies.
"You can use a scarf. A lot of people have scarves, and you can use a scarf. Scarves would be very good,” he said.
Countries in east Asia like Taiwan and South Korea already have citizens wear face masks in public. The CDC and the World Health Organization still currently recommend masks only for those who are sick or taking care of sick patients.
Workers at the Downtown Sewing Machine Company in Henderson, who are providing fabric for cloth masks for medical workers, say wearing them can give peace of mind.
“If it helps that mentality, which is desperately needed right now, then why not,” Angela Werner, a worker at the shop, said.
UNLV medical professor Anne Weisman says there’s nothing wrong with having an extra layer of protection like a cloth mask or bandana.
“It’s not a bad idea to put something over your face and cover the areas where you’re most susceptible to pass the virus to yourself,” she said.
She does warn, however, it can provide a false sense of security, as it doesn’t provide complete protection from the virus. Dr. Weisman recommends continuing to practice other preventative measures.
“Staying home is going to be the best thing and if you do go out, washing your hands, and practice really stringent social distancing. That six feet can’t be underscored how important it is,” she said.
Werner says her shop is doing their part to help bridge the gap in the nationwide mask shortage.
“We’re just trying to do our part. We just want to help our community and especially help those first responders, help those front-line workers,” she said.
Volunteers are being enlisted to make masks for area hospitals and medical workers. Werner says more than a hundred people called the shop to help out, surpassing expectations.
“Just in Las Vegas alone, we are just more than a city. We are a family,” she said.
Also trying to help is Gary Coward. He imports goods for the hospitality industry.
Coward says he reached out to factories in China to ship surgical and N95 masks to fill the need
He doesn’t intend on profiting much from it selling the masks at wholesale prices.
“As long as I can buy, as long as there’s a market, as long as there’s a need, I will keep on doing this,” he said.
Coward says between 75,000 to 100,000 masks could be produced. He’s concerned though, countries like china may ban exports to keep masks on their shores.
“It’s changing so quickly that I’m concerned in two to three weeks, the whole supply line might be turned off or barely affected at best,” he said.
Ultimately, it’s all about coming together as a community to help fight the disease.
“As long as we all can help each other out, we’ll get through it much faster,” Werner said.