As some institutions this month called for the return of mask mandates, experts interviewed by The Defender cited studies showing masks are ineffective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses, and warned of the harms masks pose to children.
A growing number of universities, businesses and hospitals in recent weeks have reinstituted mask mandates and social distancing requirements, and a new report warned that broader mandates may be coming this fall.
At the same time, the Biden administration is pushing for the public to get COVID-19 booster shots for the fall and winter seasons — even though President Joe Biden ended the COVID-19 public health and national emergencies in May, as did the World Health Organization (WHO), citing an overall low level of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.
Meanwhile, recently released documents from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reveal that public health officials privately questioned the effectiveness of masks and the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) promoting their use.
While some experts have openly called for the widespread use of masks to return, experts who spoke with The Defender questioned the need for mandates and the effectiveness of masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.
“Masks are not effective against the spread of viruses like COVID-19,” said Brian Hooker, Ph.D., senior director of science and research for Children’s Health Defense (CHD). “The virus is much too small to be blocked by a cloth/paper mask and even N95 masks have very limited effectiveness in reducing transmission.”
What do you call re-imposing mask policies that have been proven ineffective or restarting lockdowns that are known to cause harm?
You don’t call it sanity.
These terrible policies only work with your cooperation. How about refusing to participate…
— Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD (@FLSurgeonGen) August 24, 2023
Dr. Meryl Nass, an internist and member of CHD’s scientific advisory committee, told The Defender that while medical professionals may “benefit from short periods” of mask-wearing before disposing of them, “Regular people who use these masks and are not trained in their use probably get no benefit and may well be at greater risk.”
Is threat of new mandates being used to push COVID boosters?
CBS News reported that several new COVID-19 variants have surfaced in recent weeks and are spreading across the U.S. These include the EG.5 variant, “estimated to be the ‘dominant’ strain in the U.S.,” FL.1.5.1 and a “highly mutated” strain, BA.2.86.
These strains have caught the attention of public health authorities and the WHO, which on Aug. 9 declared EG.5 (“Eris”) a “variant of interest,” even though the WHO acknowledged there’s no evidence the strain leads to more severe disease than its predecessors.
Yet, CNN also reported there were “four new hospital admissions for every 100,000 people” in the U.S. for the week ending Aug. 12, “which is considered low.”