Last I heard (not from news, but from doctors at Universities and other places my company has contacts with [we make software for Med schools and such]), it was actually recommended the general public should NOT wear masks, as it INCREASES risks. They said if they get a bunch of people in their office or ward with COVID-19 (which was likely enough with their particular field) they might wear a mask because of the particular amount of close, frequent, contact and such, but the general public should not. Part of their explination: 1) it’s not considered airborne, more than 3 feet away you aren’t at risk, but your main risk is actually touching surfaces with the virus and then touching your face, 2) To go with that last part, masks cause people to touch their face more frequently, thus it increases their risk.
Aside from that, there’s even more doubts about the use of cloth, rather than N95 masks. There’s really NOT a whole lot of information on any of it, but what little there is is… well mostly this one study: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/bmjopen/5/4/e006577.full.pdf
That one study isn’t huge, has some problems, and the control isn’t the best. It’s also for people in medical settings (hospitals, I think) rather than the general public. That said, as far as I’ve heard, it’s mostly all we have right now. The conclusion was that cloth masks are either ineffective or a net negative (they cause people to get viruses more often, by a slight amount). Some analysis has wondered at least whether the N95 are really showing a significant positive either.
But, again, it’s not the best study, even though they were trying to do a good job. There are just a lot of limitations for gathering the data and performing experiments, and they didn’t track every vector possible thoroughly (or at least didn’t report them).
Now, does it help prevent the spread of the virus if you have it? Honestly, who even knows? Are you still touching things, considering that is the main way the virus spreads (as far as we know at the moment)? Honestly, seems the best thing you can do is stay away from people as much as possible/stay home, and it’s unclear if a mask will help, harm, or do nothing.