Facemasks Controversy: Who Really Needs Them?

Get the truth about facemasks and COVID-19 from National Jewish Health Infectious Disease expert, Shannon Kasperbauer, MD. She explains the facemask controversy, how facemasks protect against germs and which mask is best for the general public and health care providers.


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Dr. Kasperbauer: The topic of masks is quite controversial and I'll tell you why. These N95 masks that you see all over the media, all over TV that people are wearing should not be on the general public. Number one, they were designed for healthcare workers to protect them for airborne transmission of small particles. These are masks that we rely on to keep us safe as we're having to treat these patients. They require annual fit testing. So there's different sizes, there's proper ways to wear them, take care of them and improper ways.

Dr. Kasperbauer: So most of the community that has them, well, they've never been fit tested and they're not using them properly. So then they're ineffective. So that's for a healthcare worker. The general public can use surgical masks, but it's really for someone that's sick. It's not for someone that's healthy because a simple mask, whether or not you get that at Home Depot or you get it at your local Walgreens, that is really just to protect other people around you when you're coughing and you're spraying those droplet particles out into the environment, it's there to capture that.

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