The great mask backtrack

Wednesday, July 22, 2020
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

women in Spain wearing facemasksThough many places now require people to wear masks, some people do not see the benefit in doing so. In fact, officials have been inconsistent on the matter.

Phil Kerpen of American Commitment recently told "Sandy Rios in the Morning" that the benefit of masks "is very, very limited. In particular, if we're talking about cloth masks, like homemade masks or a bandana or just a piece of cotton, it's not blocking much, to be honest."

Kerpen did go on to say that surgical masks are more effective. 

"The studies that show that masks have more of an effect were using surgical masks," he continued. "Surgical masks can block something like half of the droplets, which might have more of a significant effect."

Even then, people still need to be careful about how they handle their masks. 

"A regular person, I fear, and certainly children, are going to get more harm than good from a mask because they're going to be constantly touching it, constantly adjusting it," Kerpen explained. "If you're not washing them, it can have all the accumulated germs from the last time you wore it."

Nevertheless, many retailers are now requiring customers to wear masks, even if the stores are in states or cities where masks are not required. The stated reason is to combat the spread of COVID-19, with officials pointing to recent pro-mask comments from people like Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as well as Jerome Adams.

However, critics of masks recall that Dr. Fauci was skeptical of masks earlier this year. For example, he told USA Today in February that hand washing was a better way to combat the spread of the virus. Then in March, Dr. Fauci told the "60 Minutes Overtime" program that "people should not be walking around with masks."

Kerpen

"When you're in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better, and it might even block a droplet, but it's not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is," he said. "And often, there are unintended consequences. People keep fiddling with the mask, and they keep touching their face. When you think masks, you should think of healthcare providers needing them and people who are ill."

Likewise, Surgeon General Adams urged people in February to stop buying masks, tweeting, "They are NOT effective in preventing the general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can't get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk."

So theoretically, some benefit may accompany the right kind of mask. But in practice, Kerpen does not see any clear advantage.

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