A former leading advisor to the Biden administration regarding the lingering COVID-19 pandemic said on Monday that “cotton” masks like those worn by a majority of Americans ostensibly to stop the viral spread are not at all effective, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is once again recommending them even for vaccinated people amid a rise in new cases stemming from the delta variant.
“Joe Biden’s top covid advisor just went on CNN and admitted the masks people are wearing don’t work against covid. As I’ve been saying, this is all just cosmetic theater,” Outkick.com founder and talk radio co-host Clay Travis wrote in a Monday tweet containing a clip of Dr. Michael Osterholm during a CNN interview.
Osterholm is an epidemiologist who served as a COVID adviser to President-elect Biden’s transition team.
“We know today that many of the facecloth coverings that people wear are not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out — either you’re breathing out or you’re breathing in,” he told CNN’s John King.
“And in fact, if you’re in the upper Midwest right now, anyone who’s wearing their facecloth covering will tell you they can smell all the smoke that we’re still getting” that are drifting across the country from western wildfires, Osterholm added.
“We need to talk about better masking,” he continued. “We need to talk about N95 respirators which would do a lot for both people who are not yet vaccinated or not previously infected — protecting them as well as keeping others who might become infected having been vaccinated from breathing out the virus.”
Osterholm’s comments come after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week reissued new masking guidance, even for vaccinated people, that included low-risk children returning to in-person classes this fall as schools reopen.
Most medical professionals have long known that surgical and cloth masks have little effect on stopping the spread of viruses, much less COVID-19, and that N95 masks are the preferred piece of protecting equipment to stop the viral spread. But they also acknowledge N95 masks are inherently unsuitable for long-term use.
Social media users responded to Osterholm’s comments with a combination of sarcasm and derision.
“If they REALLY wanted to do something last year they would’ve been handing out FREE N95’s on Every Main Street in America Instead stock cloth with elastic straps were Gouged over the counter Told me all I needed to know,” one user wrote.
“Everyone I know in the medical profession has been saying this for over a year. Can’t we get back to the clear messaging about washing your hands well, not shaking hands, coughing into your elbow and away from everyone, and if you feel sick, stay home and away from others?” added another.
“No way. You mean to tell me the thin piece of paper everyone has been wearing on their face doesn’t protect you!?” another user added.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s top medical adviser and head of the National Institutes of Allergies and Diseases was challenged by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to explain the medical science behind continued masking for vaccinated people.
“You see what his argument is. His argument is what if, what if these people can spread it? And my response is… show me the evidence. Show me the proof, you know, show me that people are transmitting this who have gotten vaccinated and there is no proof of that,” Paul told Fox News.
“They are arguing you might be able to transmit it. All I’m saying is if you want me to wear a mask for two more years or three more years or for the rest of my life, why don’t you show me evidence? Why shouldn’t the burden be on the government to show us evidence that we are still somehow transmitting this?” Paul added.
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