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Trump's Test Highlights Importance Of Masks. Here's How To Make Safer DIY Coverings

President Trump, who along with the first lady tested positive for the coronavirus, has long downplayed the importance of wearing face masks in public. At Tuesday night's presidential debate, Trump said he wears a mask "when I think I need it," and then mocked his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, noting, "Every time you see him, he's got a mask."

But Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in July, "Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting."

Evidence continues to mount that masks not only prevent the spread of contagious droplets expelled when we talk or breathe, but also offer protection to the wearer. Some doctors theorize that wearing a mask might reduce your chances of severe illness with COVID-19, even if you do get infected with the coronavirus.

As Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, puts it, "The less virus that you get in, the less sick you're likely to be."

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Maria Godoy is a senior science and health editor and correspondent with NPR News. Her reporting can be heard across NPR's news shows and podcasts. She is also one of the hosts of NPR's Life Kit.