On Thursday, First Lady Melania Trump posted a photo to Instagram that showcased herself wearing a face mask, as per the recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“As the CDC continues to study the spread of the COVID-19, they recommend that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures can be difficult to maintain,” she wrote in the post.
“Remember, this does not replace the importance of social distancing. It is recommended to keep us all safe.”
The former fashion model has shared her views on the importance of face masks amid the coronavirus pandemic before. On Sunday she tweeted a request for Americans to adhere to the current guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I ask that everyone take social distancing & wearing a mask/face covering seriously.”
Melania added that the coronavirus does not discriminate when infecting victims.
Melania’s opinion conflicts with the opinion of her husband, President Donald Trump, who refuses to wear a face mask. As reported by the National Post, Trump has defended his decision by stating that the CDC only recommends using a face mask.
“You don’t have to do it,” he told reporters at the White House last week.
When Trump was pressed about his wife’s tweets on mask safety at a coronavirus press briefing, he said he was okay with her feelings and noted that many people feel the same, CNN reported. The president also said he would wear a mask if he believed it was essential to do so.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) April 5, 2020
Before the recent CDC recommendations, public health officials said that individuals who aren’t exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms don’t have to wear a mask.
As reported by New Scientist, guidance on face masks still varies. The World Health Organization (WHO) only recommends the use of such a mask for people who are caring for people infected with coronavirus and those who are coughing or sneezing.
Paul Hunter at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom recently worked with his colleagues to examine 31 published studies on the efficacy of face masks in an effort to determine how effective they are for dealing with diseases like COVID-19. According to Hunter, the results are mixed. While he says the evidence shows a small benefit to wearing a protective covering to prevent the spread of viruses, the evidence is variable.
“Our view is that there was some evidence of a degree of protection, but it wasn’t great. So we still don’t effectively know if face masks in the community work.”
Conversely, Hunter said there is significant evidence to support wearing masks for some frontline staff, including people working in supermarkets or public transportation.