Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul went after those critical of President Trump for not wearing a mask leading up to his COVID-19 diagnosis, citing a study that says masks have a “97% penetration of particles.”
“To the scolds blaming @realDonaldTrump infection on not wearing mask: the only published randomized clinical study of cloth masks shows 97% penetration of particles & higher infection rate than control. But never mind, it’s all about submission,” the Republican senator said on Twitter.
To the scolds blaming @realDonaldTrump infection on not wearing mask: the only published randomized clinical study of cloth masks shows 97% penetration of particles & higher infection rate than control. But never mind, it’s all about submission… https://t.co/tONCm8swFw
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) October 19, 2020
Paul cited a 2015 study to back his claim, which showed cloth masks were much more likely to result in infection of influenza than medical masks.
“Penetration of cloth masks by particles was almost 97% and medical masks 44%,” the study’s authors said.
“This study is the first RCT of cloth masks, and the results caution against the use of cloth masks,” the study continued. “This is an important finding to inform occupational health and safety. Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection. Further research is needed to inform the widespread use of cloth masks globally. However, as a precautionary measure, cloth masks should not be recommended for HCWs (health care workers), particularly in high-risk situations, and guidelines need to be updated.”
The study found that cloth masks not only performed worse than medical masks but that they led to higher rates of infection than the control group as well, where some of the participants wore no masks at all.
“Cloth masks resulted in significantly higher rates of infection than medical masks, and also performed worse than the control arm,” the authors said. “The controls were HCWs who observed standard practice, which involved mask use in the majority, albeit with lower compliance than in the intervention arms. The control HCWs also used medical masks more often than cloth masks.”
Trump has been roundly criticized by many for what they perceive as a lukewarm support for masks, with some even linking the president’s refusal to wear one to his COVID-19 diagnosis.
A New York Times article earlier this month called the Rose Garden ceremony Trump held to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court a “super spreader” event, noting that neither Trump nor most of those in attendance were wearing masks.
Shortly after the event, many in attendance, including Trump himself, were diagnosed with COVID-19.
Trump was pressed on the mask issue during his town hall event on NBC last week by moderator Savannah Guthrie.
“I’m president, I have to see people, I can’t be in a basement, I can’t be in a room, I can’t be — I have to be out,” Trump told Guthrie when asked if he should have taken more precautions.
“You can see people with a mask, though, right?” Guthrie responded.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using masks “in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”
The CDC says masks “may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others” and that “masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, also endorses the use of masks.
“I think the — the data speak for themselves,” Fauci said of mask-wearing. “We had a superspreader event in the White House, and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks. So the data speak for themselves.”
Author: Michael Lee
Source: Washington Examiner: Rand Paul slams Trump’s mask critics and cites study showing ‘97% penetration of particles’ for cloth masks