Is Anyone Exempt From Wearing a Face Mask During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Tarrah Gibbons
July 21, 2020 - 3:41 pm

Several states across the nation are now making face masks mandatory due to recent coronavirus case spikes.

Americans are now wondering if anyone is exempt from wearing a face mask during the pandemic.

ABC News reported that experts say very few people are excused, and the decision is up to each person’s doctor.

Dr. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association, said that people with underlying chronic lung disease, such as asthma or COPD, should be able to wear a non-N95 facial covering. Rizzo explained that this would not affect their carbon dioxide or oxygen levels.

He also said that “masks have no detrimental effects, even in patients with chronic lung disease.”

If people have a hard time breathing in a face mask, Rizzo shared that many face shields and covers can be worn instead.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that people with developmental and intellectual disabilities can feel uncomfortable while wearing a mask.

Dr. Divya Jose, a psychiatrist in New York City, said, “I could fathom rare cases of PTSD where past trauma involved a face covering; in such cases, wearing a mask may trigger potential flashbacks, but this is more an exception.”

Jose shared that she has seen a lot of patients with disabilities.

“I am yet to see one come in without a mask,” she added.

The American Lung Association stated that face masks and social distancing are essential to decrease the spread of COVID-19.

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