FACT OR FICTION: Does wearing masks really help?

Updated: Mar. 17, 2020 at 8:17 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The spread of the new coronavirus has unfortunately also prompted the spread of misinformation, especially online and over social media.

Investigative Reporter Carter Coyle is launching a new segment for our viewers called Fact or Fiction.

The goal is to flesh out the myths and give you the facts.

If you have a question or an idea for Fact or Fiction, email Tips@Live5News.com.


Masks can help prevent the spread of infections, not just with Covid-19 but also for many types of viruses.

They are especially important if you are caring for someone who's infected- you should both wear a mask to help capture droplets.

In this online FAQ, the Centers for Disease Control say surgical masks and the much tighter-fitting N95 respirators are helpful, but the N95 filters out 95% of airborne particles, large and small.

Emergency Medicine Dr. Barron Nason says if they have a patient come into their North Charleston clinic NasonCare with any symptoms, they immediately give them a surgical mask and isolate them.

"What that does is prevent that patient from coughing, sneezing or expressing droplets out that others could be contaminated with," he said.

Stores all over the country are sold out of masks of all kinds.

The U.S. Surgeon General tweeted for the public to stop buying them because they're needed for medical professionals.

Dr. Nason had a surplus of about 300 N95s on hand. "We have about 200 left out of our 300, and I'm offering it at at no charge to any healthcare worker throughout the pandemic to make sure everybody's protected," he said.

Source: World Health Organization
Source: World Health Organization(Source: World Health Organization)

The World Health Organization says there's no need for a healthy person to wear a mask unless they are caring for someone with a suspected infection. They should also wear one if they themselves coughing or sneezing.

The WHO added that masks are effective in conjunction with frequent hand washing.

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