Actually, masks can protect the wearer

A growing number of scientists are suggesting that wearing a mask may also protect you to prevent the virus from spreading. It’s further evidence that knowledge about masks and their benefits is evolving – as is understanding of the pandemic in a broader sense.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have publicly recognized that for the first time in a scientific bulletin This week it was published on his website that “the benefits of masking are the combination of source control and personal protection for the mask wearer.” Masks are neither completely selfless nor selfish – they help everyone.

John Brooks, CDC’s chief medical officer Coronavirus Response, the Washington Post said there is an urgent need to clarify this clearly as the widespread use of face-covering can help prevent the need for national bans.

The CDC released this scientific mandate to fix what the agency viewed as the lack of a “brief summary of the strong scientific evidence to support the benefits of masking,” he said. The bulletin marks the beginning of the agency’s renewed effort to strengthen public messaging as infections mount highest level ever in many US regions. The agency is now updating all notifications about masks to reflect the new information. CDC is also preparing material detailing data and science for its partner groups, including state health departments.

Since the CDC cannot impose mandates, the agency wants the public to understand that masks are “good for them,” Brooks said.

The new document seeks to dangle a compelling carrot of information before the public: There is a “likely complementary and potentially synergistic” relationship between controlling the source of infection for others and protecting itself, the agency said. In other words, the more people in the community wear masks, the greater the individual benefit.

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Masks form a barrier that prevents some of the droplets from flying outward when someone breathes, speaks, sings or cough. A study published last week showed that under experimental conditions, simple cloth masks blocked about three-quarters of the particles expelled by cough volunteers.

However, it was a logical hypothesis for researchers to also investigate whether masks could also block incoming particles. And laboratory tests over the past few months have shown masks can filter out the types of particles viruses can transmit, Brooks said.

The CDC official added that the mask wearer’s personal protection is not absolute. “The real benefit, if we all do it, that way we lower the virus load of Covid-19 in communities,” Brooks said.

In the nine months since the virus broke out in the US, the CDC has received increasing criticism for not being clear enough about its guidelines on mask protection, as it linked scientific data to concerns about mask availability.

During the first wave of the pandemic, surveys showed a Majority of Democrats and Republicans wore masks, though Democrats were more inclined to do so. But some Americans were very skeptical. This opposition became so pronounced in the summer that online shops were selling counterfeit “mask release cards” marked with stolen Justice Department imagesby the hundreds.

Republican Congressmen were encouraging by mid-summer Face coverings. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Said in late June that putting on a mask is the “most important thing you can do” until vaccines are available.

But President Trump rarely insisted that Americans wear them. He often described masks as optional and once misleading as “double-edged sword“Because people could touch the fabric and then their faces.

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Pictures of the president covering his face were rare until he tweeted a photo of himself in a mask in July.

“Overall, this appears to be a news win that would appeal to Republicans,” he said Katherine White, a consumer behavior expert from the University of British Columbia. She said that’s because conservatives are strong motivated through a personal responsibility to take care of yourself.

Brooks, who oversaw the release of the new bulletin, said the language had gone through a long test to ensure that there was consensus on the best evidence. In this case, laboratory, epidemiological and population studies showed “very substantial benefits” of wearing masks, he said.

An evolution in scientific thinking about masks in the United States took place amid the pandemic. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert at the University of California at San Francisco, said that science suggests that face coverings “with a higher thread count, more than one layer, and those that use” electrostatic filtration “like surgical masks are best Offer protection “.

“Messages that let the public know that masks are protecting you and others can help convince skeptics that masks in public spaces are important in slowing the spread and disease of covid-19,” Gandhi said.

It’s less clear whether masks – by potentially breastfeeding some but not all of the incoming virus particles – can also lessen the severity of the disease. On September 8, Gandhi and her UCSF colleague George Rutherford suggested that the dose of virus people are exposed to could influence the severity of the disease. The scientists said face coverings could filter enough droplets to result in asymptomatic or mild illness in some cases – and some immunity.

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On October 23, a group of other prominent experts – including Angela Rasmussen of Columbia University and Saskia Popescu of George Mason University – argued in a letter to the editor that the science was preliminary and that it was just a hypothesis that mask wearers were small Inhale amounts of virus.

The CDC did not address this theory published the bulletin this week. The agency stressed that this update did not reflect a change in the agency’s recommendation on wearing masks.

“Our leadership is still the same,” said Brooks. “This is more of the data to back this up, and it shows that there is some personal protection that we want to make sure people know about.”

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