Conflicting WHO, CDC Masks Guidance Creates Confusion and Havoc

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

An April 6 World Health Organization guidance advised that there is limited evidence that masks for healthy people are beneficial.

Studies of influenza, influenza-like illness, and human coronaviruses provide evidence that the use of a medical mask can prevent the spread of infectious droplets from an infected person to someone else and potential contamination of the environment by these droplets. 13 There is limited evidence that wearing a medical mask by healthy individuals in the households or among contacts of a sick patient, or among attendees of mass gatherings may be beneficial as a preventive measure. 14-23 However, there is currently no evidence that wearing a mask (whether medical or other types) by healthy persons in the wider community setting, including universal community masking, can prevent them from infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.

Masks make people feel a false sense of security

Medical masks should be reserved for health care workers. The use of medical masks in the community may create a false sense of security, with neglect of other essential measures, such as hand hygiene practices and physical distancing, and may lead to touching the face under the masks and under the eyes, result in unnecessary costs, and take symptoms. The true extent of asymptomatic infections will be determined from serologic studies. Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19: interim guidance -2- masks away from those in health care who need them most, especially when masks are in short supply.

There are no studies that show the effectiveness of non-medical masks

The use of masks made of other materials (e.g., cotton fabric), also known as nonmedical masks, in the community setting has not been well evaluated. There is no current evidence to make a recommendation for or against their use in this setting. WHO is collaborating with research and development partners to better understand the effectiveness and efficiency of nonmedical masks. WHO is also strongly encouraging countries that issue recommendations for the use of masks in healthy people in the community to conduct research on this critical topic. WHO will update its guidance when new evidence becomes available.

The CDC refuses to acknowledge facts

Despite these well-known medical facts, our CDC and leaders are still telling everyone to wear masks even when healthy.

CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

But the WHO says that wearing a mask puts healthy people at risk of getting infected or having other medical problems.

  • self-contamination that can occur by touching and reusing contaminated mask
  • depending on type of mask used, potential breathing difficulties
  • false sense of security, leading to potentially less adherence to other preventive measures such as physical distancing and hand hygiene
  • diversion of mask supplies and consequent shortage of mask for health care workers
  •  diversion of resources from effective public health measures, such as hand hygiene

Who do we believe? It’s hard to say since neither organization has handled the COVID-19 outbreak well. But it should make us wonder why years of evidence and mask protocol is suddenly being thrown out the window.

The following video put out by the WHO is what the medical profession has always agreed on until sometime in late April: The use of masks is only effective for sick people and only when used appropriately with proper hygiene and procedures which no one at your local grocery store is following (or haven’t you seen people constantly adjusting, touching, or pulling down their masks)?

Despite these common-sense facts, the governor of New York just signed a new executive order telling stores they can refuse service to anyone not wearing a mask. We’ve seen public shaming of people not wearing masks like the woman who was chased out of a grocery store on Staten Island because of these types of edicts.

But are they scientifically sound? Who knows?

Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo,” and host of The Fringe podcast. Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter


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