On 6 April 2020, the World Health Organization once again rejected the use of surgical masks by the population against the Covid-19 pandemic.

WHO points out that such masks are intended to protect patients from droplets emanating from hospital staff. They have no proven effectiveness in protecting the caregivers who wear them or the general public against contamination.

WHO also notes that the generalized use of such masks provides a false sense of security. The organization insists that only hygienic measures (washing hands, airing out the premises etc.) and social distancing can protect against the virus.

The wearing of surgical masks was recommended by the Japanese authorities during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic. The use was immediately adopted by many countries and subsequently spread throughout Asia. However, this measure was actually aimed at keeping the morale high and had no real impact on the epidemic.