President Donald Trump once again questions the effectiveness of masks in protecting against the capture of the coronavirus. On Thursday, he reiterated a false claim about masks, citing a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Then you see CDC come out with a statement that 85 percent of people who wear masks catch them?” He told Fox Business presenter Stuart Varney Thursday morning. “Why is?”
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Trump was referring to a September 10 report by the CDC which found that dining at restaurants increased the risk of infection more than other social activities. The report went viral on social media this week, claiming that the agency’s mask management doesn’t prevent people from getting sick. On Wednesday afternoon, the CDC tweeted that “the interpretation that more mask wearers are infected than non-mask wearers is wrong”.
The CDC report looked at 314 people with Covid-19 symptoms who were subsequently tested for the virus. about half tested positive. In a telephone survey, participants were asked about their social activities for two weeks before testing positive, e.g. B. in the church, in the gym or in shops. The researchers found that 85 percent of those who tested positive for the coronavirus said they always or often wear masks. The study also found that 89 percent of those in the group who tested negative said they wear masks with the same frequency.
While Trump got the correct number, the interpretation of the data is imprecise, according to the CDC.
Dr. Todd Rice, lead author of the study, told NBC News that the research was in fact “mask neutral” and that the data was not designed to argue for or against wearing masks.
A major problem with the “masks don’t stop the spread” claim: the data was reported through telephone polls itself. In other words, people told interviewers about their mask use; It was not observed by video surveillance.
“You can imagine that there can be some inaccuracies in reporting,” said Rice.
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While it is true to say that a large proportion of those who tested positive said they were wearing a mask, so did those who tested negative, Rice said. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the majority of people in the study said they “often” or “always” use cloth face covers or types of masks in public.
In fact, the biggest risk factor for Covid-19 was eating out, according to the study. Participants who tested positive were twice as likely to say they dine in a restaurant where it becomes difficult to wear masks.
“Even for those who claim to always wear a mask, it is important to note that there are community activities where masks cannot be worn,” a CDC spokesman said in a statement. While customers can always wear masks when shopping or doing other indoor activities. “
The CDC Guide to Masks Wearing a mask is intended to protect other people in the event that the mask wearer is infected. “At no point did the CDC guidance suggest that masks are intended to protect wearers,” the agency’s spokesman said in the statement.
Masks should not be seen as the only way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“Masks aren’t perfect. They help, but they aren’t a guarantee you won’t get Covid if you wear a mask,” Rice said. “I don’t think masks give you the ability to be negligent in other aspects of trying not to catch this.”
This is also what Dr. Anthony Fauci repeated for months.
“There are some things that should be widely practiced and that is wearing masks universally, avoiding crowds, keeping your distance, doing things outdoors more than indoors, and washing our hands frequently,” she said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC News’ Kate Snow recently, “It doesn’t matter who you are. You should do that.”