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There’s no doubt that an incoming Biden-Harris administration will take a much stronger line on suggesting people wear masks to combat the spread of coronavirus than the outgoing Trump administration has.
Andrew Selsky at Associated Press has been looking at how the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advice on masks has been modified during the course of the pandemic as more science has emerged about the way the virus propagates.
He reminds us that US surgeon general Jerome Adams tweeted on 29 February: “Seriously people — STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus”.
But last week, having now long advised people to wear masks because they help prevent people who are infected from spreading the coronavirus, the CDC added a new reason for wearing a mask. Masks can also protect wearers who are not infected
The agency referred to a study led by Japanese researchers that found masks block about 60% of the amount of virus that comes out of an infected person. When an uninfected person wearing a mask is near an infected person who isn’t wearing one, the amount of virus the uninfected person inhaled fell by up to 50%.
But when BOTH people are wearing masks, that produced the best result.
The decline in virus particles reaching the second person was close to 70%. So, if everyone wears a mask when social distancing is not feasible, the infection rate will be cut, experts say.
Across the US there is no single federal mandate for masks. The CDC has made only recommendations, and these were frequently undermined by Donald Trump often ridiculing Joe Biden for wearing one whenever he was out in public.
Biden, now president-elect, has said repeatedly that there should be a nationwide mask mandate. He has also promised to ask every governor to impose mask rules. For those who refuse, he’s vowed to go around them to seek similar mandates at the county or local level until the entire country is covered.
As of yesterday, 36 states have some type of mask mandate in place.
Republican governors in Iowa, North Dakota and Utah — all states that are being hit hard — have recently reversed course and required at least limited mask use. Others have extended or expanded earlier orders.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds cast some doubt Tuesday on the science behind masks even as she imposed a limited mask rule, noting that neighboring states with mask mandates have seen rising numbers of cases, although not as severely as Iowa.
She’s unwittingly hit the nail on the head with regards to how misinformation about the virus has been so widely spread. “If you look, you can find whatever you want to support wherever you are at,” she said.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Trump condemned for ‘shameful’ firing of Chris Krebs after he refuted voter fraud – live updates | US news