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Sen. Toomey supports 'Masks4All' movement as way to slow spread of coronavirus

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U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, is urging residents of the state to cover their mouths and noses when they must venture out of their homes.

In a video Toomey posted to social media Saturday night, he detailed his support for the “Masks4All” movement, calling it a “really good idea.”

Toomey stressed that wearing a homemade mask or facial cover when you venture out is not about protecting yourself, but about protecting those around you.

“I would encourage people to make sure if you’re going outside, cover up. Cover your nose and mouth. My mask will keep someone else safe and their mask will keep me safe. I’m not suggesting that this is any kind of guarantee and it probably doesn’t have tremendous value for the person wearing the mask. But it probably does significantly reduce the risk that people could inadvertently transmit it.”

Toomey said residents should follow Gov. Tom Wolf’s order of staying home as much as possible and that N95 masks should be reserved for health care workers and emergency responders. 

“Many of us could be walking around with the virus. Maybe we have no symptoms. We may never get the symptoms. But we might be able to transmit the virus,” he said in the video.

He said the mask could be homemade, or even a bandanna — "something that we can put over our nose and mouth so that we reduce the likelihood that droplets from our own breath would inadvertently be inhaled by someone and potentially infect them.”

He said it appears to have been deployed successfully in the Czech Republic.

Former Food and Drug Commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb echoed Toomey’s sentiments Sunday morning on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” 

Jeremy Howard, a researcher at the University of San Francisco, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post that was published Saturday night highlighting the merits behind the “Masks4All” movement.

The effectiveness of masks, however, is still in question. The New York Times reported Friday that the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to state that masks don’t necessarily protect healthy individuals from getting infected as they go about their daily lives, and they should be reserved for people who are already sick, as well as for the health workers and caregivers who must interact with infected individuals on a regular basis. Everyone else, the agencies say, should stick to frequent hand-washing and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from other people to protect themselves.