Common sense would tell one that cloth masks are not an effective measure against COVID-19. However, that was called misinformation throughout the pandemic — until now.
Disease expert Michael Osterholm said cloth face coverings do little to protect against the coronavirus and particularly the delta variant, JustTheNews reported. Osterholm is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and served on Biden’s transition team.
Media regular Dr. Osterholm (@mtosterholm): “We need to talk about better masking. We need to talk about N-95 respirators, which would do a lot for both people who are not yet vaccinated or not previously infected” pic.twitter.com/xqgArTOGrt
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) August 2, 2021
“We know today that many of the face cloth coverings that people wear are not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out,” Osterholm said on CNN Monday. Osterholm mentioned that those in the upper Midwest who were contending with smoke from wildfires can still smell it — illustrating how they’re ineffective at blocking the molecules.
“We need to talk about better masking,” Osterholm said. “We need to talk about N95 respirators, which would do a lot for both people who are not yet vaccinated or are not previously infected. Protecting them as well as keeping others who might become infected having been vaccinated from breathing out the virus,” he advised.
A similar message came from Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner on CBS News last month. “I think, though, if you’re going to consider wearing a mask, the quality of the mask does matter. So if you can get your hands on a KN95 mask or an N95 mask, that’s going to afford you a lot more protection.”
President Joe Biden sold masking as a magic bullet to stop the spread of the coronavirus. One of his campaign promises and first actions as president was for Americans to do their “patriotic duty” and wear the masks for 100 days, the Associated Press reported.
Of course, by then many locales had mask mandates in effect for months and the vaccine was already being administered. Many considered the push for masking to be more symbolic than actually effective, and now it seems that may have been accurate even as that fact was called misinformation earlier in the pandemic.
Taking proper precautions to stop the spread of the coronavirus is a good idea. However, people should not be lulled into a false sense of safety because they have a piece of cloth over their faces — that’s common sense, and now it looks like it’s good science as well.