CDC report: Mask wearing stopped spread of COVID-19 from infected hairdressers


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Two hairdressers infected with COVID-19 interacted with clients but, because they were wearing masks, none of those clients were known to become infected with the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published findings from an outbreak investigation in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

According to the report, the two hairstylists in Missouri tested positive for COVID-19 in May. Each worked with clients for eight days before getting tested. In that time, they served 139 clients. The salon was following state guidelines, which required employees and clients to wear face coverings.

The salon shut down to disinfect after the second stylist tested positive; all of the other stylists who had been in contact with them were identified, quarantined and monitored for 14 days.

After contact tracing and two weeks of follow-up, none of the 139 clients reported any COVID-19 symptoms – and, neither did any of their secondary contacts. 48% of the clients volunteered to be tested, 51% refused. All of the tests were negative.

Hair Stylists

The report concludes that “with the potential for presymptomatic and asymptomatic transmission, widespread adoption of policies requiring face coverings in public settings should be considered to reduce the impact and magnitude of additional waves of COVID-19.”

The report does indicate the limitations of this study, which include that asymptomatic clients that didn’t get tested could have been missed. Also, some of the early testing could have resulted in false negatives. That’s why the health department offered the testing on day five and also monitored symptoms until day 14.

The investigation also did not track other possible factors like glove-wearing or hand hygiene.