Last Tuesday, in an attempt to convince New Yorkers to wear a mask virtually everywhere, Governor Cuomo made the following claim at his daily press briefing, “Wearing a mask has got to be something you do every day. When you get up, when you walk out of the house, you put the mask on. This is cool.” He added that wearing a mask “should be part of our culture to encourage mask-wearing.”
The governor was even more emphatic a few days later, on 28 May, when he announced that stores in the state can prohibit anyone from entering who is not wearing a mask. “If you don’t want to wear a mask? Fine. But you don’t have a right to go into that store if the store owner doesn’t want you to.”
This follows Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order, which went into effect on 17 April, that everyone in the state over two years old had to wear a face covering while out in public and not able to guarantee six feet of social distance.
Last Thursday, the governor also doubled down on the claim that masks are effective at limiting the spread of COVID-19: “I’ve been working to communicate this message about masks and how effective they are. They are deceptively effective. They are amazingly effective.”
Returning to his new theme that wearing a mask is “cool,” Cuomo declared, “We have to culturalize the masks, we have to customize the masks for New York, to get New Yorkers to wear them.”
TRENDPOST: After loudly proclaiming the importance of wearing a mask at his press briefing, the governor got up and walked out of the room leaving his mask on the table.
Unmasking the Evidence
The mask issue has become controversial on two fronts.
On the political front, an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll showed 76 percent of Democrats wore masks outside of the home, considerably more than the 59 percent of Republicans. The issue in many ways is heating up between those willing to stand against threats to individual rights and those willing to obey the orders of political leaders claiming they know how to best protect the public at large.
Advocates for the wearing of masks also say it’s a sign of support for doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers.
While a number of medical professionals have confirmed that professionally made surgical masks can be effective at limiting the spread of COVID-19, they’ve made it clear the limited supply needs to be reserved for medical staff and healthcare workers.
Two Sides of the Mask
As for the cloth masks worn by most of the public, the variety Governor Cuomo also promoted, a number of medical authorities have stated that cloth masks, as well as surgical masks, are not only ineffective at stopping the spread of COVID… they can make the situation worse.
Some key points:
- On 31 March, the Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, stated that when it comes to wearing masks, “the data doesn’t show” any effectiveness: “What the World Health Organization and the CDC have reaffirmed in the last few days is that they do not recommend the general public wear masks.”
The Surgeon General added, “Wearing a mask improperly can actually increase your risk of getting disease.”
- While the CDC reversed its position on 8 April and is now advocating wearing masks, the WHO, the United Nations public health agency, updated its position against wearing masks. On 4 May, WHO released the following guidance: “There is currently no evidence that wearing a mask (whether medical or other types) by healthy persons in the wider community setting, including universal community masking, can prevent them from infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.”
Dr. April Baller, public health specialist for WHO recommends, “If you do not have any symptoms such as fever, cough or runny nose, you do not need to wear a mask. Masks should only be used by health care workers, caretakers or by people who are sick with symptoms of fever and cough.”
- Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon, wrote an editorial on 18 May for Technology News that stated, “As for the scientific support for the use of face masks, a recent careful examination of the literature, in which 17 of the best studies were analyzed, concluded that, ‘none of the studies established a conclusive relationship between mask/respirator use and protection against influenza infection.’”
Also said by Dr. Blaylock, “Keep in mind, no studies have been done to demonstrate that either a cloth mask or the N95 mask has any effect on transmission of the COVID-19 virus.”
Dr. Blaylock goes on to cite that wearing a mask, particularly non-professionally made cloth varieties can actually cause health problems. “Several studies have indeed found significant problems with wearing such a mask. This can vary from headaches, to increased airway resistance, carbon dioxide accumulation, to hypoxia, all the way to serious life-threatening complications.”
- May Chu, clinical professor in epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health, points out that masks recommended for public use “impede only about 2 percent of airflow.”
TRENDPOST: Despite these facts above and others we have noted in previous issues discounting the effectiveness of masks, the mainstream media and politicians keep selling the need to wear them, and the majority of the population – as evidenced by both political party majorities believing they should wear them – obediently believe what they are told.