Covid-19: Canadians now advised to wear non-medical masks

Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Medical Officer of Health, is now recommending Canadians wear cloth masks to fight the spread of Covid-19. On Monday Tam advised the public to wear non-medical masks to prevent the spread of the virus in places like grocery stores, where physical distancing can be a challenge. Tam’s opinion is a change from her previous advice to Canadians and comes with increasing evidence that people with the virus can spread it without showing symptoms.

“Wearing a non-medical mask is an additional measure that you can take to protect others around you,” said Tam.

As to why federal health officials in Canada wouldn’t have issued this notice two weeks ago? Tam says the evidence is still very weak. “There are a lot of recent studies that are very specific – cruise ships, care homes, hospitals -and the later science is just not being integrated,” said Tam.

What’s a non-medical mask?

Tam says non-medical masks can be easily made at home. “It doesn’t have to be complicated. Really any readily available thing you have around the house, sheets, shirts, bandanas,” said Tam.

“It remains critical that medical masks be kept for healthcare workers,” Dr. Howard Njoo, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer

Dr. Howard Njoo, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer says it remains critical that we keep medical masks for healthcare workers. “If you do wear a non-medical mask it’s more about protecting others.” All the premiers came to this agreement that they share this advice. “It’s not a recommendation, it’s advice,” said Njoo.