The issue of wearing face masks in public has quickly become a hotly debated topic as states begin to reopen and politicians and media outlets try to convince us that they are a necessity.
There is also evidence that wearing a mask can itself be hazardous.
The mask issue is further complicated by mixed messaging from public health authorities, who first advised against the practice in March before pivoting last month and recommending the opposite.
“In light of new data about how COVID-19 spreads, along with evidence of widespread COVID-19 illness in communities across the country, CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in the community setting,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on the issue.
That statement contrasts from a statement made by the CDC on Feb. 27 strongly advising against using masks to halt the spread of the disease.
“CDC does not currently recommend the use of facemasks to help prevent novel #coronavirus. Take everyday preventive actions, like staying home when you are sick and washing hands with soap and water, to help slow the spread of respiratory illness,” the agency wrote on Twitter.
CDC does not currently recommend the use of facemasks to help prevent novel #coronavirus. Take everyday preventive actions, like staying home when you are sick and washing hands with soap and water, to help slow the spread of respiratory illness. #COVID19 https://t.co/uArGZTJhXj pic.twitter.com/yzWTSgt2IV
— CDC (@CDCgov) February 27, 2020
“There is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any potential benefit. In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest the opposite in the misuse of wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly,” Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO health emergencies program director, said.
Information that might hold some importance to public health doesn’t seem to find its way easily out of communist China, but we do know that two seemingly healthy teen boys in the country died last month while exercising in China’s Hunan Province.
Aside from the fact that both boys were 14, had no reported health issues and were declared dead after jogging within two weeks of one another, they had something else in common: They were both wearing mandatory face masks when they collapsed.
The father of one of the boys blamed his son’s untimely April 24 death on the mask.
“He was wearing a mask while lapping the running track, then he suddenly fell backwards and hit his head on the ground,” a man identified as Mr. Li said, according to Australia’s Seven News.
Li said a hospital attributed his son’s death to “sudden cardiac arrest,” the report said.
“I suspect it was because he was wearing a mask,” the father said.
Li’s assessment was disputed by Cao Lanxiu, a professor at Shaanxi University of Chinese Medicine.
The professor said, “I don’t think mask-wearing has caused this sudden death,” but he said without an autopsy, which the family declined, there is no way to conclusively know what killed the teen.
A day before Li’s son died while wearing a mask in China, a driver in New Jersey crashed into a power pole after apparently passing out while wearing a mask.
The Lincoln Park Police Department shared news of the accident on Facebook.
“The crash is believed to have resulted from the driver wearing an N95 mask for several hours and subsequently passing out behind the wheel due to insufficient oxygen intake/excessive carbon dioxide intake,” the department wrote in a since-deleted post.
That Facebook post was later updated to say that police could not say with 100 percent certainty that the mask caused the accident after the department was apparently inundated with responses questioning its assessment of the crash. The department ultimately removed the post from Facebook.
The news that police were hectored into updating and ultimately removing the post isn’t a surprise. Shaming those who are not wearing masks is the latest tactic of the fearful pro-lockdown crowd on social media, and they’re very loud.
Many people have shown themselves to be quite reactionary with regard to lifting restrictions on the public, and that seems to heavily apply now to the issue of wearing masks.
But some government officials and private businesses have made mask-wearing mandatory in public, which the establishment media seem to strongly support.
Business Insider even went as far as to describe people with respiratory health conditions who don’t want to cover their faces as “Anti-maskers.”
The outlet, citing a Reuters report about the dangers potentially posed by wearing masks for too long, said, “Unsubstantiated rumors have also circulated online, saying that continuous mask wearing can cause hypercapnia, a condition caused when too much carbon dioxide enters the blood and can lead to symptoms ranging from fatigue and headaches to seizures and coma.”
Here’s essentially what the media are telling us: Do what you’re told and don’t ask questions.
The data regarding mask efficacy is not settled, and evidence that masks might come with another set of problems should also be taken into account.
The media-fueled “if you don’t wear a mask you want to kill people” crowd should not be dictating decisions on personal health and comfort.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.