Is CDC recommending you shave your beard to protect against coronavirus?

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention graphic from 2017 has resurfaced in the wake of coronavirus panic, showing which facial hairstyles could render respirators useless. Media outlets and some on social media are spreading the graphic with the claim that the CDC is telling people to shave their beards to protect against the virus.

But is the CDC actually telling people this? No, it’s not.

The CDC guidelines and the graphic were originally posted as part No-Shave November in 2017 as advice to those wanting to grow beards during that month. It specifically points out the difficulties beards could pose with tight-fitting respirators used in certain industries and not looser-fitting surgical masks. (Masks and respirators are being utilized around the world to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has reached more than 80,000 cases globally.)

According to 3M, surgical masks are not designed to protect your lungs from airborne hazards and do not fit tightly to the face to begin with. They are designed to reduce the amount of spit and mucus the wearer expels.

Sources

  1. https://www.post-gazette.com/news/health/2020/02/27/coronavirus-beards-CDC-prevent-shave/stories/202002270116
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/pdfs/FacialHairWmask11282017-508.pdf?mod=article_inline
  3. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-cdc-says-americans-dont-have-to-wear-facemasks-because-of-coronavirus-2020-01-30?mod=article_inline