Federal health officials issued new guidance on the pool of people at risk of contracting coronavirus by changing the definition of “close contact”.
The biggest impact will be in schools, workplaces and other group settings where people are in contact with others for long periods of time. The importance of mask-wearing to prevent spread of the virus is prefaced, even as President Trump and his top coronavirus adviser continue to raise doubts.
The CDC had previously defined a “close contact” as someone who was within six feet of an infected individual for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
The guidance about transmission of the coronavirus had been discussed by CDC scientists for several weeks.
Half of all people who have the virus don’t show symptoms, “so it’s critical to wear a mask because you could be carrying the virus and not know it,” the CDC said. “While a mask provides some limited protection to the wearer, each additional person who wears a mask increases the individual protection for everyone. When more people wear masks, more people are protected.”
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