The Latest: Settling the Great Mask Debate

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
2 min readApr 1, 2020


Dear Reader,

Should you wear a mask? If you’re feeling whiplash about the conflicting messages, you’re not alone. Americans have been advised by the CDC to avoid mask wearing if they’re healthy. Health workers are still experiencing shortages (do not hoard masks, especially N95 versions). But the advice in other countries is different, and scientists are questioning whether some rational use of face masks makes sense.

We dove deep into the issue to answer all your questions. (Bottom line: Some coverage might make sense — but be informed about the risks and benefits).

What’s New:

  • The virus is mutating slowly (That’s a good thing!): The SARS-CoV-2 virus driving the Covid-19 pandemic appears to be mutating slowly, which means any vaccine created now is expected to protect people long-term. Read more.
  • Iceland envy: Iceland’s coronavirus tests suggest that up to 50% of infected people have no symptoms. The small country managed to test 5% of its population for coronavirus, which is admirable. The U.S. has only tested about 0.2% as of last week.

Follow our Medium Coronavirus Blog for regular updates.

We’ve curated some essential stories below.

Be well,

Alexandra Sifferlin
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog

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A Quick Q&A:

Should I wear a mask?

In an ideal world, everyone with Covid-19 would have access to a surgical mask, but that’s not the reality we’re living in. Instead, research suggests that thousands of asymptomatic people may be walking around spreading the disease during a rapidly progressing global pandemic. When faced with the decision between wearing a cloth face mask that promises negligible results or doing nothing at all, it’s hard to argue against the former. — Danielle Kosecki, Elemental

Read the full story here.

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Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that