Democrats have escalated rhetoric about wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in recent weeks, but even the lauded Center for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t back Democrat claims that mask-wearing is the key to defeating the virus.
Former New York Times writer Alex Berenson tweeted last week: “Wondering what @cdcgov really thinks about masks? Their guidance on quarantining after exposure to someone with #covid explicitly states whether the infected OR exposed person wore masks doesn’t matter.”
Berenson’s tweet was accompanied by images of CDC guidance backing up his claim.
What the CDC says
Official CDC guidance on wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 claims that “masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings. The spread of COVID-19 can be reduced when masks are used along with other preventive measures, including social distancing, frequent handwashing, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.”
As Berenson noted in his exposé, the CDC’s guidance on community-related exposure contradicts conventional wisdom that wearing masks protects anyone involved in the equation.
According to the CDC, individuals that come within “close contact” — less than six feet for more than 15 minutes — with an infected individual should quarantine at home for 14 days. The CDC guidance was careful to note that these rules apply “irrespective of whether the person with COVID-19 or the contact was wearing a mask or whether the contact was wearing respiratory personal protective equipment (PPE)”
The guidelines continue:
While research indicates masks may help those who are infected from spreading the infection, there is less information regarding whether masks offer any protection for a contact exposed to a symptomatic or asymptomatic patient.
Berenson, one of the most prominent critics of the extreme lockdown approach to controlling COVID-19 remarked “My mask protects no one. So does yours. Thanks for clearing that up, CDC!”
Democrats charge ahead
Despite the CDC’s language indicating that the science supporting mask-wearing as a solution to the spread of COVID-19 — as opposed to social distancing — is weak, top Democrat politicians are united in claiming that the US would be past the pandemic if everyone wore masks at all times.
Democrat nominee Joe Biden declared in mid-August that if elected, he would immediately implement a nation-wide mask mandate. “Let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide starting immediately and we will save lives. The estimates are we will save over 40,000 lives in the next three months if that is done,” Biden said.
Biden stressed that wearing a mask “increases exponentially the prospect that if you are a carrier and you don’t even know it, that you will not infect anyone if you cough, sneeze, sing, shout.”
Biden’s statements did not address CDC guidance admitting that evidence backing mask-wearing as a solution to COVID-19 is still “emerging,” nor did he address the fact that many governors have already instituted state-wide face-covering mandates.