There is conflicting information about whether or not people should wear masks, with different countries taking different approaches.
Neither the World Health Organisation, nor Public Health England have recommended mass use of masks for healthy people in the community at this point in time. Evidence suggests this is currently under review.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does now advise the wearing of cloth masks in public and many countries, such as Canada, South Korea, and the Czech Republic, require or advise their citizens to wear masks in public places.
An evidence review and analysis published in the Lancet on 16.04.2020 does suggest that wearing a mask could be beneficial in reducing transmission of the virus by limiting respiratory droplets. (1)
This may be particularly helpful information for people who may be infected but asymptomatic (not showing signs of any symptoms) whilst caring for at risk or vulnerable family members and/or for those households where a vulnerable person is being shielded but one or more family members or carers are not able to self-isolate with the rest of the household.
Please note, if you are caring for someone with Rett Syndrome and you are in any way symptomatic, you should avoid providing care to them if at all possible.
If this is not possible, you should wear a mask to protect them from coughs and sneezes.
1: Cheng KK, Lam TH, Leung CC. Wearing face masks in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic: altruism and solidarity. Lancet. 2020 Apr 16. pii: S0140-6736(20)30918-1. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30918-1. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 32305074.