Sask. NDP leader encouraging use of cloth masks in public

The leader of Saskatchewan's NDP is encouraging people to wear cloth masks in public to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“We are encouraging people to use cloth masks but not to be using masks that are meant for healthcare workers,” said Ryan Meili, who was a family physician before being elected to the provincial legislature. “You're going out you want to be covering your face to protect yourself and others but you don't want to be taking a mask away from somebody who is working in healthcare who is at high risk.”

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As of April 5, the World Health Organization recommends that if you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected COVID-19 infection, while the American Centers for Disease Control recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

The NDP leader said that masks such as N95s and surgical masks intended for healthcare workers must be reserved for healthcare workers, especially with U.S. President Trump seeking to block the shipment of urgently needed medical equipment to Canada.

“You can easily make a simple mask to help keep yourself and others safe when you need to leave the house,” Meili said. “This is not a replacement for physical distancing. But it can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.”

In a video posted to YouTube, Meili demonstrated how to make a mask with cotton cloth, elastics and paper towel. The demonstration begins at 1:17.

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