COVID-19 Update: CDC Officially Says Wear a Mask, Walmart to Require Them

The CDC affirms that cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19

July 16, 2020

CDC Officially Says Wear a Mask

In an editorial published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviewed the latest science and affirms that cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 that could reduce the spread of the disease, particularly when used universally within communities.

“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus—particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”

This review included two new case studies, one from JAMA, showing that adherence to universal masking policies reduced SARS-CoV-2 transmission within a Boston hospital system, and one from CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), showing that wearing a mask prevented the spread of infection from two hair stylists to their customers in Missouri.

Additional data in Tuesday’s MMWR showed that immediately after the White House Coronavirus Task Force and CDC advised Americans to wear cloth face coverings when leaving home, the proportion of U.S. adults who chose to do so increased, with 3 in 4 reporting they had adopted the recommendation in a national internet survey.

Walmart and Sam’s Club to Require Shoppers to Wear Face Coverings

Walmart Inc. announced on Wednesday it will require shoppers to wear face masks at all U.S. Walmart and Sam’s Clubs stores starting Monday, July 20, citing the health and safety of its associates, members, and customers for its decision.

“While we’re certainly not the first business to require face coverings, we know this is a simple step everyone can take for their safety and the safety of others in our facilities,” according to the statement.

Currently about 65% of its more than 5,000 stores are located in areas where there is some form of government mandate on face coverings. Walmart said this decision will help bring consistency across its stores and clubs.

In addition to posting signage at the front of stores, Walmart has created the role of Health Ambassador and will station these ambassadors near store entrances to remind those without a mask of the new requirements. Also, to help ensure consistency with this new process, all stores will have a single entrance, the statement said.

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