Now the CDC is considering recommending masks but why in the fuck didn't they do that from the very beginning? It could have slowed the spread and spared us these bullshit lockdown measures.
It's Time to Face Facts, America: Masks Work
Official advice has been confusing, but the science isn't hard to grok. Everyone should cover up.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has almost never advised healthy people to wear masks in public to prevent influenza or other respiratory diseases. In the past few months, with medical supplies dangerously diminished, the CDC, US surgeon general Jerome Adams, and the World Health Organization have urged people not to buy masks, paradoxically claiming that masks are both essential for the safety of health care workers and incapable of protecting the public from Covid-19.
Recently, some experts have disputed this contradictory advice. They propose that widespread use of masks is one of the many reasons why China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have controlled outbreaks of coronavirus much more effectively than the US and Europe. “Of course masks work,” sociologist Zeynep Tufekci wrote in a New York Times editorial. “Their use has always been advised as part of the standard response to being around infected people.” Public health expert Shan Soe-Lin and epidemiologist Robert Hecht made a similar argument in the Boston Globe: “We need to change our perception that masks are only for sick people and that it’s weird or shameful to wear one … If more people donned masks it would become a social norm as well as a public health good.” Last week, George Gao, director-general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that America and Europe are making a "big mistake" by not telling the public to wear masks during the ongoing pandemic.
It is unequivocally true that masks must be prioritized for health care workers in any country suffering from a shortage of personal protective equipment. But the conflicting claims and guidelines regarding their use raise three questions of the utmost urgency: Do masks work? Should everyone wear them? And if there aren’t enough medical-grade masks for the general public, is it possible to make a viable substitute at home? Decades of scientific research, lessons from past pandemics, and common sense suggest the answer to all of these questions is yes.
Masks reduce the spread of infectious disease by catching microbes expelled by the wearer and protecting the wearer from microbes in their environment. When we cough, sneeze, talk, or simply breathe we emit a plume of air and droplets, which are largely composed of saliva, mucus, salts, and—if we are infected—potentially dangerous microbes. The smallest of these droplets, sometimes called aerosols, may hover or drift through the air for hours, potentially exposing anyone who enters that airspace. Larger droplets may travel only a few feet—or up to 26 feet if propelled by a sneeze—before falling to the ground or onto another surface, such as someone’s skin or clothes.
Although surgical masks are not tightly sealed like N95s, the filters they contain are still a major impediment to microbes. The CDC and other health agencies often say that surgical masks catch only spurts of bodily fluids and very large respiratory droplets, and that they cannot filter tiny infectious particles. But this is simply not true.
For a 2009 study of influenza transmission, nine infected volunteers coughed five times onto a Petri dish while wearing a surgical mask, an N95 respirator, or no covering. Nearly every time someone coughed without a mask, influenza virus showed up on the dish, but no virus was found when the volunteers wore either type of mask. Similarly, in a study still under review, 246 participants with symptoms of respiratory infection breathed into a droplet-collecting device called the Gesundheit-II for 30 minutes. When volunteers were bare-mouthed, coronavirus was detected in 30 to 40 percent of their sampled droplets; when they wore a surgical mask, no coronavirus was detected. Another study using a realistic manikin that simulated human breathing concluded that, when accounting for leakage, a surgical mask can filter at least 60 percent of 0.3 micron particles. A similar manikin study demonstrated that surgical masks reduce exposure to aerosolized influenza virus by sixfold, on average.
Scientists have also tested whether masks reduce infection in randomized controlled trials. Results from these studies are inconsistent: Many fail to find definitive support for mask wearing, but a few are somewhat encouraging. Neither hand sanitizer nor face masks alone produced a statistically significant effect on rates of influenza-like illness among 1,437 college students in Michigan; together, however, they reduced the rate by 35 to 51 percent. Similarly, surgical masks appeared to reduce the spread of flu within 84 households in Berlin when they were used within 36 hours of symptoms.
Because so many trials find only a marginal benefit or none at all, some health agencies have decided against recommending masks to the general public. But the inconsistency of randomized trials does not negate the robust physical evidence that masks block respiratory droplets and microbes. Rather, these trials underscore that the efficacy of a mask depends on how it is used. In a study of 143 households in Sydney, people who diligently wore surgical masks as instructed reduced their daily risk of respiratory infection by an estimated 60 to 80 percent, but fewer than half the participants kept up the demanding routine.
In fact, this very issue has been cited (and even exaggerated) by health authorities in order to dissuade the public from using masks. "Folks who don't know how to wear them properly tend to touch their faces a lot and actually can increase the spread of coronavirus," Jerome Adams told Fox & Friends at the beginning of March. Yet in the same interview, Adams described how many seconds it takes to correctly wash one’s hands. The CDC and WHO have poured considerable resources into numerous websites, tweets, and videos that encourage frequent handwashing and meticulously demonstrate proper technique. If it’s possible to educate the public about better hand hygiene, why not teach them how to wear masks, too?
Meanwhile, several studies have tested the performance of masks improvised from household materials. A 2008 paper found that masks made from kitchen towels were about half as protective as surgical masks. For a study published in 2013, scientists compared the filtration efficiency of surgical masks to linen, silk, a scarf, a kitchen towel, a pillowcase, a vacuum cleaner bag, and masks that volunteers made from 100 percent-cotton T-shirts. The surgical mask performed best, followed by the vacuum cleaner bag and kitchen towel, but the latter were too thick and stiff to be worn for long periods of time. The T-shirt masks were comfortable, though, and one-third as effective as the surgical masks. “Our findings suggest that a homemade mask should only be considered as a last resort,” the authors wrote, “but it would be better than no protection.” A 2010 study reached a nearly identical conclusion.
The collective evidence makes a strong case for universal mask wearing during a pandemic. [...] Masks could help reduce the spread of disease in all these scenarios. “Masks work in both directions,” virologist Julian Tang explained. “If everybody wears a mask, it’s double protection. Even if a mask is not 100 percent sealed, it is still a significant reduction in risk of transmission.”
Had the US federal government listened to expert warnings about an inevitable pandemic and taken the necessary precautions years ago—by investing in domestic mask production, for instance—we would not be faced with such a dire shortage of basic medical equipment today.
https://www.wired.com/story/its-time-to ... asks-work/
Well I guess if the public health babbitts didn't advise against using masks they wouldn't have such an awesome opportunity to take control of society and be the revered authority figures for a terror stricken public. Masks would have given people too much of a sense of control and the babbitts weren't about to let that rob them of their big moment.