About that coronavirus ‘mask, no mask’ debate

People standing on a city street corner wearing masks (© Ben Margot/AP Images)
People wearing masks wait for a street signal in San Francisco on January 31. (© Ben Margot/AP Images)

The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which originated in Wuhan, China, has spread to 24 other countries. People are understandably nervous. The U.S. public health institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has advice about when to wear face masks and when that would not be necessary.

Use a face mask if:Do not use a face mask if:
— You have the symptoms of novel coronavirus.

— You are a medical professional with novel coronavirus–infected patients.

— You are in close proximity to someone who has novel coronavirus.
— You are a member of the general public in a place where the virus is not spreading in the community.