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Providers: Face Masks Outside Hospital Settings, Counseling Patients on COVID-19

In this second installment of his interview, Howard Koh, MD, MPH, discusses the importance of providers and health care workers wearing face masks during their interactions with patients.

Outside of a hospital setting, providers may want to consider wearing face masks when seeing patients. The population of asymptomatic coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) patients is much larger than expected. Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said earlier this week that people with COVID-19 exhibiting no symptoms is somewhere between 20%-40%. This demonstrates that there is so much uncertainty about the way the virus behaves and reinforces that there is so much more to learn.

With such a large percentage of people who are asymptomatic, this could lead to a number of people unknowingly transmitting the virus to others.

With this understanding and a siginificant emphasis on prevention, Howard Koh, MD, MPH, is an advocate for both providers and patients wearing face masks. Koh is the Harvey V. Fineberg Professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Kennedy School. Koh also served as the Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services within the Obama administration.

In the second installment of his interview with Contagion®, Koh discusses the importance of providers and health care workers wearing masks during their interactions with patients and having continuous discussions with patients on prevention.