As we creep closer to cold and flu season, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb across the country. At the time of publication, more than 5 million Americans have been diagnosed with the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, while more than 160,000 have died. Experts warn that things will likely get worse before they get better.
In addition to frequently washing your hands, maintaining a six-foot distance from others, and cleaning high-touch surfaces, one of the simplest things you can do to protect those around you from infection is wear a face mask or cloth covering.
But the public health messaging around face masks has had a confusing timeline, especially in the United States. When COVID-19 first started to spread, public health officials said that face masks would not help prevent the spread of the virus. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams even went as