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Frequently Ask Questions

Yes, if you are in a public place where you will encounter other people, you should wear a mask.

Your mask should cover your face from the bridge of your nose to under your chin. It should be loose fitting but still secure enough to stay in place. Make sure you can talk with your mask on and that it doesn’t irritate you, so you are not tempted to touch it or pull it out of place, which could put you at risk from touching your face or limit its effectiveness.

Face masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Because it’s possible to have coronavirus without showing symptoms, it is best to wear a face covering even if you think you are healthy. A mask helps contain small droplets that come out of your mouth and/or nose when you talk, sneeze or cough. If you have COVID-19 and are not showing symptoms, a face mask reduces your chance of spreading the infection to others. If you are healthy, a mask may protect you from larger droplets from people around you.

Different levels of masks are appropriate for different situations and needs. At Johns Hopkins Medicine, we currently require everyone entering our facilities to wear a mask, with the exception of children under 2.

According to the CDC, recent studies indicate a significant portion of people who have COVID-19 don’t show symptoms, and the virus can spread before they realize they are sick. This research — combined with the fact that the coronavirus can spread through close proximity to others, often by speaking, coughing or sneezing — led to their recommendation for the general public to wear cloth masks in public, especially in situations where social distancing may be difficult, such as grocery stores or on public transportation, and in areas where there is a significant amount of community transmission.

Some states now require face masks in retail stores and on public transportation. In Maryland, face masks or coverings have been required in retail stores and on public transportation since April 18.

People with risk factors for severe consequences of COVID-19: This would include people over age 65 and those living with heart disease, diabetes, obesity, chronic lung disease, immunity problems or cancer.

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