In a case-control investigation of people with COVID-19 who visited 11 U.S. health care facilities, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report revealed factors associated with getting the disease.1
People who spent time around others with COVID-19 had an increased risk, as did those who dined in restaurants. Those who reported going to restaurants or bars were twice as likely to have a positive test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as those who did not.
This was the main focus of the report, with the researchers stating, “Exposures and activities where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, including going to places that offer on-site eating or drinking, might be important risk factors for acquiring COVID-19.”2
But buried in a table at the end of the report were numbers related to the reported use of cloth face coverings or masks in the 14 days before becoming ill. The majority of them — 70.6% — reported that they “always” wore a mask, but they still got sick.
More People Wearing a Mask Got COVID Than Those Who Didn’t
Among the interview respondents who became ill, 108, or 70.6%, said they always wore a mask, compared to six, or 3.9%, who said they “never” did, and six more, or 3.9%, who said they “rarely” did. Taken together, this shows that, of the symptomatic adults with COVID-19, 70.6% always wore a mask and still got sick, compared to 7.8% for those who rarely or never did.3
The findings call into question the effectiveness of masks for preventing COVID-19, a controversial practice that’s been mandated in many parts of the world.
“COVID-19 is as politically-charged as it is infectious. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO, the CDC and NIH’s Dr. Anthony Fauci discouraged wearing masks as not useful for non-health care workers.
Now they recommend wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are hard to do (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). The recommendation was published without a single scientific paper or other information provided to support that cloth masks actually provide any respiratory protection.”
Cloth Masks Are Useless Against Aerosolized Particulates
As AAPS pointed out, the theory behind cloth mask wearing is that the mask may trap droplets that come out of your mouth if you cough or sneeze. However, large respiratory droplets, which are greater than 5 micrometers/microns (μm), only remain in the air for a short time and can only travel for short distances, falling to the ground instead. This is why the CDC recommends maintaining social distancing of 6 feet from others.5
“Public health authorities define a significant exposure to COVID-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic COVID-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes),” AAPS explains, adding, “The chance of catching COVID-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal.”6
Further, there’s evidence that aerosol transmission is involved in the spread of SARS-CoV-2,7 which are 0.125 μm in size. Friday September 18, 2020, the CDC posted updated COVID-19 guidance on its “How COVID-19 Spreads” page that, for the first time, mentioned aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2, saying “this is thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”8
The CDC then deleted the mention of aerosols and the possibility of spread beyond 6 feet the following Monday, September 21, saying a draft version of proposed changes had been posted “in error.”9
It’s a noteworthy difference, if SARS-CoV-2 is spread via aerosolized droplets, which research suggests,10 as such droplets remain in the air for at least three hours and can travel over long distances of up to 27 feet.11 Further, it adds to the likelihood that cloth masks do little to stop you from getting COVID-19. AAPS explained:12
“The preponderance of scientific evidence supports that aerosols play a critical role in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Years of dose response studies indicate that if anything gets through, you will become infected. Thus, any respiratory protection respirator or mask must provide a high level of filtration and fit to be highly effective in preventing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.”