Dr. Tam finally says wearing mask 'reduces chances' of spreading coronavirus

Tam had previously stated that masks could "sometimes make it worse," due to people touching their face when applying them.

Dr. Theresa Tam said that the COVID task force came to the consensus that wearing a mask can reduce the chance of spreading the disease to others.

The announcement comes after weeks of debate surrounding masks and their effectiveness. Tam said on Friday that non-medical masks could reduce the chance of droplets landing on surfaces, further spreading the disease.

Tam noted that while masks do not protect you, they can play a role in slowing the spread of the virus.

"Wearing a non-medical mask, even if you have no symptoms, is an additional measure that you can take to protect others around you in situations where physical distancing is difficult to maintain," said Tam. "A non-medical mask can reduce the chance of your respiratory droplets coming into contact with others."

Tam had previously stated that masks could "sometimes make it worse," due to people touching their face when applying them.

“It can sometimes make it worse, if the person puts their finger in their eye or touches their face under their mask. We would only recommend putting a mask on if you were sick and were entering a medical facility, such as a hospital. We have no recommendation for people to wear a mask (when) going about their daily business," Tam said on January 23, at the start of the outbreak.

Tam would later say that wearing a face mask could lead to a "false sense of confidence."

The World Health Organization said last week that they still recommend those who are not sick not wear face masks.

"There is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any potential benefit. In fact, there's some evidence to suggest the opposite in the misuse of wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly," said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO health emergency program.