Once again it appears there are conflicting facts, data and plenty of opinions about the efficacy of wearing masks to prevent contracting the Coronavirus.
In addition to causing “maskne” and skin infections on the face and around the mouth, persistent coughing, “mask mouth,” and respiratory illnesses including lung infections, it turns out that most everyone infected with COVID-19 “always” wore masks, according to a newly published study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study found 74.2% reported wearing masks “always” while 14.5% wore masks “often,” or 85% almost always woremasks.
It is difficult not to conclude that wearing non-surgical cloth face masks or face coverings does little to prevent contracting the coronavirus.
California Globe reported in April on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s unilateral decision which he announced on MSNBC, to spend $1 billion on surgical face masks, and said the contract had already been “inked.” Newsom made the $1 billion face mask deal with Chinese electric car manufacturer BYD for 150 million N95 masks and surgical masks each month, despite the conflicting science about using face masks for coronavirus prevention. The real reason for the contract is still unknown.
However, the CDC study, conducted by 11 medical institutions, also said, “CDC and other public health authorities recommend community mitigation strategies to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 (1,2).” And the CDC still recommends masks, saying “cloth face coverings help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others,” according to a July statement.
From the CDC Study:
Participants were asked about wearing a mask and possible community exposure activities (e.g., gatherings with ≤10 or >10 persons in a home; shopping; dining at a restaurant; going to an office setting, salon, gym, bar/coffee shop, or church/religious gathering; or using public transportation) on a five-point Likert-type scale ranging from “never” to “more than once per day” or “always.”
For each reported activity, participants were asked to quantify degree of adherence to recommendations such as wearing a face mask of any kind or social distancing among other persons at that location, with response options ranging from “none” to “almost all.”
In the 14 days before illness onset, 71% of case-patients and 74% of controlparticipants reported always using cloth face coverings or other mask types when in public. Close contact with one or more persons with known COVID-19 was reported by 42% of casepatients compared with 14% of control-participants (p<0.01), and most (51%) close contacts were family members.
Interestingly, the CDC found:
Adults with confirmed COVID-19 (case-patients) were approximately twice as likely as were control-participants to have reported dining at a restaurant in the 14 days before becoming ill. In addition to dining at a restaurant, case-patients were more likely to report going to a bar/coffee shop, but only when the analysis was restricted to participants without close contact with persons with known COVID-19 before illness onset. Reports of exposures in restaurants have been linked to air circulation (7). Direction, ventilation, and intensity of airflow might affect virus transmission, even if social distancing measures and mask use are implemented according to current guidance. Masks cannot be effectively worn while eating and drinking, whereas shopping and numerous other indoor activities do not preclude mask use. (Of note, the question assessing dining at a restaurant did not distinguish between indoor and outdoor options. In addition, the question about going to a bar or coffee shop did not distinguish between the venues or service delivery methods, which might represent different exposures.)
3.9% of respondents said they never wore face masks; another 3.9% said they rarely did.
Of the case patients and control participants 61.2% reported at least one of the following underlying chronic medical conditions: cardiac condition, hypertension, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, immunodeficiency, psychiatric condition, diabetes, or obesity.