N.J. stays course on masks: They help but they are not failsafe

ROI-NJ An N95 mask.

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli — reacting to recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that everyone should wear a mask, again reiterated her position that masks help, but don’t provide the protection many think they do.

“Remember, a face covering lowers your chances of spreading the virus to others, but it is not a failsafe measure to prevent you from getting sick,” she said.

Persichilli, speaking at the state’s daily briefing Saturday, said there is a growing body of evidence that asymptomatic people can actually spread the virus. But she reiterated the idea that masks help others more than they help the people wearing them.

“If you wear a mask, you are protecting others,” she said. “And if others wear a mask, they are protecting you.”

The CDC recommended the use of cloth face coverings. Persichilli said they can be made from scarfs and bandanas. And she emphasized the need to save surgical masks and N95 masks for front-line health care workers.

More than anything, she stressed the only proven prevention technique:

“Social distancing is by far our best preventative measure,” she said. “Wearing a simple cloth face covering when you are out is not in any way a replacement for social distancing to flatten to curve.”

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