The claim: Paperwork from a medical center states CDC does not recommend people who are well wear a mask to protect against COVID-19
Debate surrounding the effectiveness of mask-wearing has only continued as COVID-19 cases spike, prompting more false claims about their usage on social media.
A recent post on Facebook shows a photo of a discharge document from a medical center that reads, "CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19."
In a second bullet point, the document states that masks should only be worn by people who show COVID-19 symptoms.
While the user who originally shared the photo of the document has since deleted the post, he recently addressed users on his Facebook page questioning the authenticity of the paperwork.
"Do you want to see my wife's paperwork? Says the same thing," David E. Crain wrote in his Facebook comments. "Hilarious that people think that I just printed that up out of thin air, Beaumont emergency has acknowledged that their paperwork is outdated for whatever that's worth."
Emergency center clarifies post
In response to controversy and confusion about the post, Beaumont Emergency Center in Beaumont, Texas, took to social media to provide an explanation about the document.
"Beaumont Emergency Center stands by local agency, county and state government recommendations for the wearing of masks for the safety of our citizens and patients," the center posted to Facebook on June 29. "WEAR A MASK, WHETHER TESTING NEGATIVE OR POSITIVE, TO HELP REDUCE THE POTENTIAL EXPOSURE TO THE CORONAVIRUS."
The statement further says patients received "erroneous discharge instructions" due to a late computer update but that the center has since updated its instructions.
CDC recommends cloth face coverings
Previous guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said masks were not needed outside of health care settings. It also did not recommend face masks for people who are well, as the post claims. But that guidance was updated in April. The CDC recommends the general public wear cloth masks in public areas.
"To reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain," the CDC's site states.
It is also noted on the page that a significant portion of people who contract the virus are asymptomatic. Those who eventually develop symptoms are "pre-symptomatic" and can transmit the virus before showing symptoms.
A model released by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in June predicted a universal mask-wearing order could save as many as 33,000 lives.
Our ruling: Partly false
We rate the claim that discharge documents from a Texas medical center stated that the CDC does not recommend face mask coverings for those who are well as PARTLY FALSE because some of it is not supported by our research. The document is authentic, according to the medical center that issued it. But it is false to claim the guidance is current. The CDC now widely recommends cloth masks in public settings.
Our fact-check sources:
USA TODAY, "Should we all wear face masks to fight coronavirus? CDC says no, guidelines remain unchanged"
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Discharge document from Texas medical center is outdated