Coronavirus: Expert explains why facemasks won't protect you from Covid-19

26 February 2020, 08:07 | Updated: 7 April 2020, 18:31

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Facemasks will not protect you from catching coronavirus, an expert from the World Health Organisation has told LBC.

Facemasks are becoming more commonplace in both the UK and around Europe after an outbreak of the killer virus in northern Italy.

But speaking to Nick Ferrari, Dr Margaret Harris from the WHO said the masks may protect other people from your germs - but won't protect you.

- How can you protect yourself from coronavirus?

She said: "We don't recommend wearing a facemask unless you are coughing or sneezing a lot.

"People misunderstand the facemask. They think it is about protecting themselves, but it's actually about protecting others if you are producing a lot of respiratory droplets.

"One of the risks of the facemask is that people struggle to wear them for a long time. They're very uncomfortable.

"People tend to touch them a lot and if you touch your facemask when it's wet, then whatever respiratory bugs you've coughed out will go on to your hands and then you'll put it on other surfaces.

"So generally, no it's not necessary to wear a facemask."

Nick Ferrari heard why facemasks won't protect you from coronavirus
Nick Ferrari heard why facemasks won't protect you from coronavirus. Picture: LBC / PA

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recently made a recommendation for people to wear face masks to help stop the spread of coronavirus. But Donald Trump said wearing a mask will not be "mandatory".

Masks are effective at capturing droplets which is a main transmission route of coronavirus. Some studies have estimated a fivefold protection barrier versus none alone, but others have found lower levels of effectiveness.

They are also crucial for health and social care workers looking after patients and are recommended for family members who need to care for someone who is ill.