With COVID-19 cases rising fast in the US, Facebook will display new, top of feed prompts, in both Facebook and Instagram, urging US users to wear face masks when they leave their homes.
As per Facebook:
"With the rise in COVID-19 cases in the US, we’re putting an alert at the top of Facebook and Instagram to remind everyone to wear face coverings and find more prevention tips from the CDC in our COVID-19 Information Center "
The US reported 52,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day on Wednesday, a record high for any region, and infectious diseases expert, and advisor to the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that the US is “going in the wrong direction” with the virus. Fauci has warned that infections could soon reach 100,000 cases per day.
There's been some debate over mask use, and even conflicting information from official sources at different times.
In the early stages of the pandemic, health officials advised the public not to wear masks - but that, at least in part, was designed to ensure that there wasn't a sudden rush on mask buying, and that there would be enough supply for essential service workers primarily. But now, the advice is clear. Even US President Donald Trump, who had been largely dismissive of the need for masks, has now come around, and is urging mask use.
The hope, of course, is that a vaccine will save us, and eliminate coronavirus once and for all. But that could still be some months off, and we don't know how long we'll have to live in a situation where COVID-19 remains present. It had felt, at one stage, like we had crossed a crucial threshold in the virus' spread, but that's seemingly lead to a level of complacency, in several nations, with China, the US and Australia all seeing a resurgence in cases over the last week.
As such, wearing a mask makes sense. Not everyone will like it, but based on the official health advice, it could be the best way to limit the spread - and Facebook's prompts will hopefully help to boost awareness.