If You’re Planning on Attending Gatherings, the CDC “Strongly Encourages” Wearing Face Masks

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 26: Protesters march on Hiawatha Avenue while decrying the killing of George Floyd on May 26, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Four Minneapolis police officers have been fired after a video taken by a bystander was posted on social media showing Floyd's neck being pinned to the ground by an officer as he repeatedly said,

As states are reopening and lifting social distancing restrictions amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, some communities have begun to host gatherings again. The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) is recommending all Americans to continue wearing cloth face coverings, among other guidelines, to help lower the risk of spreading the virus during gatherings and events.

In its updated guidelines, the CDC “strongly encouraged” cloth face coverings in settings where “individuals might raise their voice,” citing shouting, chanting, and singing as examples. These settings might include protests, concerts, conferences, and weddings, or any other gatherings where physical distancing may be difficult. As a reminder, wearing a cloth face mask isn’t necessarily meant to protect an individual from getting the virus, but rather to protect them from unknowingly spreading the virus to others, if they aren’t showing any symptoms, according to the CDC.

While the World Health Organization (WHO) recently said the asymptomatic spread of coronavirus is “very rare,” the CDC advises event organizers and attendees to continue to exercise caution, and prioritize outdoor activities as much as possible. “The more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and COVID-19 spreading,” the CDC states.

In addition to wearing face masks, the CDC recommends washing hands often and maintaining distance when possible, and discourages individuals from exchanging physical interactions, like handshakes, fist bumps, and high-fives at events. If you believe that you’re infected with the coronavirus, are showing symptoms, or have been in close contact with someone showing symptoms within the past 14 days, you should stay home, especially from gatherings. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, here’s how you can take care of yourself at home.

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