In times like these, information can change pretty quickly. Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, gave her latest update on Monday, April 6, and it seems she's changed her mind on the value of homemade COVID-19 face masks. Dr. Tam now says non-medical face protection can be used along with social distancing measures when individuals are out and about to help stop the spread.
Dr. Tam was talking to reporters in her health update on Monday, where she addressed the topic of non-medical masks again.
"Wearing a non-medical mask is an additional measure that you can take to protect others around you," she said in her briefing.
"In particular, it can lower risks of respiratory droplets coming into contact with others or landing on surfaces," she stressed.
However, Dr. Tam warned that wearing a non-medical mask won't necessarily protect the wearer.
This would seem to be a progression from last week when she urged people to realize that it's health care workers who need protection more than members of the public.
On Wednesday, she advised that homemade masks should be used with caution as they don't always work in preventing the spread of illnesses.
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Now, though, she stresses that this updated advice reflects new information coming in from the science and medical community, per CBC.
According to Global News, Dr. Tam also discussed on Monday the fact that Canada has increasing evidence that COVID-19 is being transmitted before symptoms begin to show in infected people.
In fact, some people can carry and transmit the virus without ever developing symptoms themselves.
As such, Dr. Tam stresses that wearing homemade masks is more of a precaution for others than it is a guaranteed effective safety measure for the mask-wearer.
On Monday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in his own briefing that he thinks her suggestion is "a good idea."
"If you can make them at home, make them," Ford said on Monday afternoon.
Ford had also said earlier on Monday that Ontario risks running out of the medical N95 masks needed by health care workers on the front line by early next week at the current rate.
And Dr. Tam took the time to reiterate that everyday Canadians don't need to and shouldn't look to get a hold of those masks, which are already in short supply.