Slowly, the establishment media is beginning to admit that COVID is here to stay and has started to question some cherished pandemic policies.
On Wednesday, National Public Radio published a piece that admitted cloth face masks don’t work against COVID. It blames Omicron for being the magical variant that can bypass all mask protection.
“Cloth masks are not going to cut it with omicron,” says Linsey Marr, a researcher at Virginia Tech who studies how viruses transmit in the air.
Omicron is so much more transmissible than coronavirus variants that have come before it. It spreads at least three times faster than delta. One person is infecting at least three others at a time on average, based on data from other countries.
“It’s very contagious,” says Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “And the kind of encounter that you could have had with prior versions of the virus that would have left you uninfected, there’s now a good chance you will get infected from it.”
I want to point out that there was plenty of evidence that cloth masks were not working in 2020. I used my experience as an environmental health and safety professional to describe all the reasons mask mandates would fail:
The hands are one of the most efficient highways for germs into the body, but how many of us wash our hands (or even put sanitizer) when donning masks? And I can’t tell you how many times I see people with masks that are not covering the nose or chin. And, if you follow the California Office of Governor Guidance, you will be smearing contaminants onto the mask through your meal.
There are numerous other rules for good mask-wearing, including laundering after use. However, how many people actually grab a clean, fresh mask every time they use one? How many people properly launder (i.e., use bleach if washing by hand).
CNN’s medical analyst also admitted masks weren’t working. She and other “experts” are pointing to N95-respiratory protection as the way to go.
“Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. There’s no place for them in light of Omicron,” [CNN medical analyst Dr. Leanna] Wen told CNN on Monday. “Wear a high-quality mask, at least a three-ply surgical mask.”
While cloth masks may have seemed like a good idea in 2020, they’re not particularly useful in areas of high viral transmission, studies have found. A September 2020 review found that cloth masks may be beneficial for preventing transmission in low-risk public settings but that they offered limited protection in healthcare settings.
However, relying on N95 masking to reduce numbers is doomed to fail like cloth masks…for many of the same reasons. N95 respiratory protection is meant for an occupational setting, with fit-testing done to ensure a good seal.
Additionally, the long-term wearing of N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFR) and similar protections can cause health effects, as reported in a study involving healthcare workers (HCWs) published on a CDC blog.