Mixed Message on Masks Highlights Federal Ineptitude in COVID Response

April 8, 2020

Inconsistency in government recommendations causes confusion. Imagine that?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reversed their recommendations on mask-wearing. Before April 3, the agency’s guidelines told those of us outside of healthcare settings not to wear masks, which were only for people who were sick or caring for people who were sick. Now, the CDC recommends that the general population wear non-medical masks—that is, fabric, like a cut-up shirt or a bandana, that covers the mouth and nose.

This follows multiple messages about why the general public didn’t need masks. US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, said mask-wearing wouldn’t protect us from contracting the virus; Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that recommendations not to wear a mask were based on a supply shortage.

The scientific evidence offers lukewarm support to the idea of wearing masks to prevent infection among the general public. One review article concluded that there is “some evidence” to support mask-wearing during illness to protect others, but “fewer data to support the use of masks or respirators to prevent becoming infected.” In another study, college students wore masks on campus during flu season but the practice did not reduce flu-like illness except with hand sanitization.

Recommending the use of homemade masks is even more problematic. Masks made of cloth get very damp and moist, which is a breeding ground for pathogens. If these masks aren’t washed well or often enough, they could increase the risk of infection. A study of the SARS epidemic “suggested double-masking and other practices increased the risk of infection because of moisture, liquid diffusion and pathogen retention.”  It is for these reasons that the World Health Organization recommends mask-wearing only for those who are sick or who are caring for sick people. A WHO document from January 2020 states that “cloth masks are not recommended under any circumstance.”

For those using surgical masks, it’s important to know about proper disposal. Surgical masks are intended for single use only. You can find guidelines for disposal here. Not disposing of masks properly can lead to cross contamination.

The lack of a clear message regarding the use of masks demonstrates how unprepared the agencies we depend on to protect the health of our citizenry truly are. Health and Human Services (HHS) is the department that oversees and coordinates the CDC and FDA. As we’ve seen, the CDC has given conflicting recommendations on proper protocols during the pandemic. FDA failures in approving tests for COVID-19 put the US behind in stemming the outbreak.

Additionally, the executive branch’s decision to terminate the entire pandemic response team and not replace them has led to a reactive, rather than proactive, response to this crisis.

Experts have long contended that a catastrophic global pandemic was unavoidable. We knew this was coming yet were completely unprepared to deal with it, and for that the federal government must shoulder much of the blame.

18 responses to “Mixed Message on Masks Highlights Federal Ineptitude in COVID Response”

  1. Wilfred Olschewski says:

    “executive branch’s decision to terminate the entire pandemic response team “. Is this CNN propaganda? Pres. Trump has denied this. For me to believe you, please provide specifics: WHEN, WHY, HOW MANY PEOPLE. I would really get to the bottom of this. DATE? REASON? WHO?

  2. Wilfred Olschewski says:

    I could not post. You claimed it was a duplicate. That is BS.

  3. helene weinstein says:

    BIG TIME TRAITORS

  4. Betty says:

    Latest studies find that SARS-CoV2 lasts 2 days on cloth and 7 days on the outside of a surgical mask. If exposed to the virus, I suspect that a mask could actually lead to a transmission if not handled properly. Plastic masks are not the answer, since the virus lasts on plastic for 2 to 3 days.

  5. jayne mcgurrin-feshold says:

    is anyone in the trump administration competent? we taxpayers pay these non-professionals well. they owe us competancy.

  6. John says:

    I have valued your input and contribution on natural health over the years and acted on your advise accordingly. But after reading this article and how you referenced an article from Politico which is full of misinformation and propaganda, it is n my view you can no longer be trusted to give unbiased information and I will be removing myself from your email list. I will advise others I know to do the same

  7. Take common public well-being seriously… esp. since it is your function and legitamate reason for being.

  8. Lawrence Braico says:

    How much is George Soros paying you for this biased report?
    God Bless and Keep The President of The United States Donald J. Trump.

  9. Eric Clyde says:

    You had a great article until you put the fake news in the second to last paragraph. Trump did NOT terminate the pandemic response team. It was just moved to fit into another part of the organization.

  10. Susan Mullins says:

    I find the government’s actions in not be ahead of this pandemic that they saw coming in December more than reprehensible; I believe is to be both homicidal and suicidal. It gave them the opportunity to invest heavily in the misfortunes of others while delaying action to make such their victims stressed to the point of buying into anything.

    Such is the action of unhinged pirates. I do not believe in having pirates of any sort in the highest echelons of government working against the good of the people.

  11. Where did common sense go?

    As a healthcare provider for over 35 years, I am DISGUSTED with the way this health crisis is being managed!

    We need to put together an appropriate TEAM of experts to lead the way.

  12. Sharon K says:

    Don’t really find this helpful or credible

  13. Virginia Waldron says:

    Government could have done better with more than one warning about pandemic possibilities. We citizens could prepare better along with the government, I think we will need to pay more attention to our government’s attitude and actions.

  14. Donna Amato says:

    Your promotion of WHO guidelines is appalling! Are you aware of the collusion between the People’s Republic of China and WHO to deceive the world regarding the Coronavirus epidemic in China? This organization that is funded by the nations of the world and tasked with the oversight of global matters of health from a neutral, objective posture has been bedded by communist China to the detriment of the whole world! You seriously undermine your credibility by mentioning them in any positive light.

    Your reference to Politico is another flag. Politico is for the most part a propaganda machine bent on discrediting the current president. Why would you reference them at all if your intentions are to provide helpful empowering information to Americans?

    If you want to build trust with your readership and support in matters of health, avoid the temptation to politicize and push party line narratives. I’m unsubscribing immediately!

  15. T Huntington says:

    The Trump administration did indeed dismantle the pandemic response team in 2018. That’s simply history. I remember hearing that alarming report the day it happened. If you want to make this a political argument and defend the Trump administration, then begin with what actually happened and figure out how to defend that decision; don’t just deny that what happened, happened!

    Here are a few contemporaneous articles about it from The Washington Post on May 10, 2018: “Top White House official in charge of pandemic response exits abruptly”, and from Independent (out of the UK) on May 11, 2018: “Top White House official in charge of pandemic response exits as global health security team disbanded”.

    Snopes also looked into the question of the truth of this accusation in February and March 2020 and found it to be true:
    “Did Trump Administration Fire the US Pandemic Response Team?” updated March 13, 2020.

    Thanks to the Alliance for Natural Health for posting this helpful information!

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