One of the earliest shortages created by the fear of the burgeoning coronavirus crisis was that of face masks.
Early on, the Center for Disease Control issued an advisory warning the public that wearing face masks of any kind was unnecessary and should be avoided. Now, according to a new report, the government is considering a reversal of that advisory.
“Stop buying masks”
Hospitals across the nation began experiencing extreme shortages of N95 masks — which filter out aerosolized particles much more effectively that surgical masks — almost immediately.
As the nation scrambled to catch up with the demand, public health officials pushed the narrative that the general public should avoid wearing masks at all.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted in late February, “Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing 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!”
According to current official CDC coronavirus guidelines, one should only wear a face mask if they are sick and interacting with other people or if they are caring for someone that is sick.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that “Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are considering altering the official guidance to encourage people to take measures to cover their faces amid the coronavirus pandemic.”
COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory disease, and the prevailing wisdom is that it is spread by droplets expelled via sneezing or coughing.
Covering one’s face as part of a mitigation strategy when perfectly executed social distancing isn’t possible would seem like a no-brainer, but concerns that the general public would cause the shortage of personal protective equipment for medical professionals has stopped public health officials from even conceding that point.
The Post report said that a second anonymous official disclosed that the CDC is considering loosening guidelines to recommend that wearing cloth facemasks — not medical-grade masks — “would be a way to help ‘flatten the curve.'”
Fox’s Tucker Carlson had harsh words for public health officials that pushed the myth that face coverings were entirely ineffective at slowing the spread of the disease.
“Of course masks work. Everyone knows that,” He said during Monday’s broadcast. “Dozens of research papers have proved it … We understand only certain people should get them … we get it. But stop lying to us because it makes us cynical. It divides the country. Tell the truth.”