Though crucial for health workers, masks are not considered essential for everyone ©Bloomberg/Getty Images
Though crucial for health workers, masks are not considered essential for everyone ©Bloomberg/Getty Images

Big picture: masking the symptoms

With a shortage of face masks in Hong Kong, factories have been working to increase production. Other countries, including Japan and Vietnam, have also upped production, while France has requisitioned all supplies for healthcare professionals. Advice from experts is that masks offer little protection from coronavirus for wearers – although they can capture some droplets – and the WHO only advises using them if caring for a person you suspect is infected or if you have a virus yourself and want to avoid passing it on. Infectious disease specialist Eli Perencevich also warns that without good hand hygiene, wearers could simply autocontaminate.

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