Initial recommendations for the public from health experts was that they didn’t need to wear a mask during this coronavirus pandemic.
In the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines it says a mask should be worn if a person is sick or caring for someone who is sick and unable to wear a mask.
The U.S Surgeon General even tweeted during the early stages of the virus that people should stop buying masks because they weren’t effective to the general public and supplies were short.
On Monday, the World Health Organization doubled down on those initial guidelines.
“There is no specific evidence to suggest that wearing a mask by the mass population has any particular benefit,” said WHO Executive Director Dr. Mike Ryan. “In fact there’s some evidence that suggests the opposite in the misuse or wearing a mask properly or taking it off and on.”
Countries like Austria and the Czech Republic have taken a step back from that advice. They’re now actually recommending its citizens wear a mask when out in public places like a grocery store.
Homemade masks could see a surge in their demand from the general public if the U.S were to take similar measures.
Take Joann Fabrics for example, they've put together pre-cut mask kits that allow you to sew your own mask from home. They come with instructions and enough material for five separate masks.
In the briefing, WHO officials stressed that frontline healthcare workers are in need of mask the most.
Homemade masks could be a way to reduce the demand from the general public and free up those resources for them.