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Australians have been advised not to wear face masks if they aren’t infected by COVID-19

Australia’s deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly told Australians that it’s not a good idea to wear face masks during the coronavirus pandemic in a press conference on Friday, citing constraints on face mask supplies for the Australian healthcare system.

Kelly also pointed to their poor effectiveness in protecting someone from the virus as another reason why most Australians shouldn’t wear face masks when they’re going about their daily business.

Face masks “can be useful to stop the spread from a person with the disease to other people, if the mask is used correctly,” Kelly said. But for people who aren’t infected with coronavirus, masks are said to provide little protection.

So far in Australia, Kelly reported that 5,544 individuals have contracted the novel coronavirus, and a total of 30 have died due to complications caused by the virus. “Daily increases are definitely less than they were a week or so ago,” Kelly said, “that really talks to the effectiveness of some of the ways we have tried to deal with the virus in the last few weeks.”

In Australia, Kelly said that the country has made some gains from supplies from overseas and in its efforts to produce its own masks.

Meanwhile, in light of a face mask shortage for the healthcare system in the US, the CDC recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks or face coverings when they go outside to prevent coronavirus spread. The recommendation to wear cloth or fabric face masks was announced by President Donald Trump on Friday and came as emerging evidence suggests people can transmit the coronavirus to others before they even know they have been infected.

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