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The World Health Organization said it had changed its mind about masks following some studies completed in recent weeks, but added that it continues to consider them as one of the many measures to be taken to reduce the risk of virus transmission: another measure, for example, is physical distancing. WHO has recommended the use of masks especially in places where distancing is not always possible, such as public transport, shops, workplaces, and also in schools and places of worship.
In particular, WHO has recommended people over 60 years old, and those with previous pathologies, to wear surgical or facial filter masks, while for others generic triple-layer masks, even self-produced (a layer of absorbent cotton close to to the face, one made of polypropylene and one waterproof synthetic exterior).
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As several experts have noted, including scientific journalist David Shukman, this is a significant change in the directions given by WHO to governments around the world. For months, in fact, the WHO had argued that wearing masks could give a false sense of security, and reduce the number of personal protective equipment available to health professionals, the most exposed to the virus.