It is intuitive that a barrier ought to prevent germs from being emitted into the air. But if that’s true, why isn’t there more evidence for the benefits of masking two years into the pandemic? Experts associated with The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota have laid out a more complex analysis: Given the current understanding that the virus is transmitted in fine aerosol particles, it’s likely an infectious dose could easily get through and around loose-fitting cloth or surgical masks.
Gee, ya think? But this isn’t new information. We reported in April of 2021 that Biden coronavirus advisor Michael Osterholm talked about the ineffectiveness of most of the cloth masks that people were wearing in regards to the virus. Why are they only getting around to saying this now? Most people have been wearing those cloth masks. And then, add to that that many aren’t wearing them right, are constantly touching them; the masks are also retaining moisture, and that increases the issues.
All those factors may explain why the states with mask mandates haven’t fared significantly better than the 35 states that didn’t impose them during the omicron wave. Rhode Island, where I live, has had a mask mandate since mid-December; nonetheless, we saw our January surge rise far higher than any other state. There’s little evidence that mask mandates are the primary reason the pandemic waves eventually fall — though much of the outrage over lifting mandates is based on that assumption.
Meanwhile, where was the factoring in the harm, such as that done to the children who were the least likely to be severely affected by COVID? That’s perhaps been the most harmful thing about the mask mandates — how the affect on children seems to not even have been considered or cared about by governments in imposing such strictures.