CNN’s Gupta: CDC May Let Employees Exposed To Coronavirus Continue Working Without ‘Approved’ Face Masks

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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Health care workers may be allowed to continue working after being exposed to the novel coronavirus by using makeshift masks if actual face masks are scare, according to new guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta spoke on “New Day” Thursday about the proposal, which would allow employees to keep working even if face masks are no longer available, he said. Hospitals around the country have suffered from a shortage of supplies needed to treat patients with the virus.

CDC’s new proposal would consider allowing health care workers to keep providing care while using scarves or bandanas to substitute face masks, according to Gupta. (RELATED: CDC Warns Americans To Prepare For Coronavirus Outbreak In Their Communities)

“I think given the concern about lack of health care workers, people who are going into quarantine thus no longer being in the workforce, they’re not sort of saying, ‘hey, maybe we need to loosen this and allow them to continue to work,’” Gupta said Thursday. “Obviously a huge concern, John, because this is how you potentially increase the spread, or at least, not slow down the spread.”


“And, John, let me even add on to that, so they say, ‘look, you can consider working, even if you’ve been exposed, as long as you have a mask and, by the way, we don’t necessarily have enough masks’ so within those guidelines as well, they say bandanas and scarves could potentially be considered to be used as well,” Gupta continued.

“We know that they’re not personal protective equipment that’s been approved in any way, but, hey look, we’re at a situation now where we don’t have enough of this, we don’t have enough of the personal protective equipment, and we don’t have enough healthcare providers, so we need to start making accommodations for what we think is going to be necessary here.”

The Department of Defense is ready to make up to 5 million respirator masks to help civilian public health agencies and responders, defense secretary Mark Esper said according to Business Insider.

Vice President Mike Pence also said Thursday that there are now 35 million masks available because of a law signed yesterday, CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted.

The CDC and World Health Organization previously said that face masks would not sufficiently protect a person against the novel coronavirus. It is intended for those who have shown symptoms of the virus as well as for health care workers and those taking care of a person with the novel coronavirus, according to the CDC.