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Why are we being advised to wear masks or face coverings?

National authorities are advising that we wear masks or face coverings because they can help to prevent the spread of coronavirus. They do this by catching the droplets from our coughs and sneezes that may carry the virus. When you cough, droplets are released from your mouth and may land on surfaces or be breathed in by other people. So, wearing a mask can help to protect other people if you are carrying the virus without knowing.

This is important for people with lung conditions, as the symptoms of COVID-19 may be very similar to those of different lung diseases. As many lung conditions cause coughing, people with lung diseases may be more likely to cough, which means there is more opportunity to pass on the virus if they are infected with COVID-19.