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Coronavirus: What you need to know about wearing a mask

The Trump administration recommends most Americans wear 'face coverings' when leaving home.

HOUSTON — It’s already happening in Los Angeles and New York: government officials are telling people to cover their face when going out in public.

This is different than everything we’ve heard before, but thoughts on wearing masks are changing as each day we learn more and more about the virus.

Originally, the CDC said if you're not sick– don’t wear a mask. They didn’t want people to think a mask would completely protect them from someone who is sick, because it wouldn’t.

But now, the CDC thinks at least 25 percent of people who have coronavirus could show no signs or symptoms even if they have contracted the virus, meaning they may be spreading the virus without knowing.

So here’s the change in thinking:

If you wear a mask, or wear something to cover your nose and mouth, it’s not to protect you, but to protect others, just in case you are sick and don’t know.

N-95 Respirator and surgical masks are the two mask most often talked about. The N-95 is to protect doctors and nurses.

The N-95 mask, which filters out particles, is meant to protect doctors, nurses as well as construction workers.

The surgical mask is for surgeons to use to keep their own germs from getting on the patients.

You shouldn't be using either type of mask, as they're mostly for medical workers. So save these masks for them.

What type of mask should you use?

The White House says a "face covering," meaning anything that covers your mouth and nose and can keep your cough or sneeze from spreading. This covering can be something you have at home: a scarf, a bandana or other cloths. 

Experts worry wearing a mask may make you feel more comfortable in public. They say don’t let that happen. Still keep your distance, wash your hands and don’t touch your face.