National Addiction News

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • According to the World Health Organization’s June 5, 2020, guidance on face mask use, there’s no direct evidence that universal masking of healthy people is an effective intervention against respiratory illnesses
  • While masks do not prevent the spread of viral infections, the WHO still makes a case for universal mask-wearing, citing benefits such as reduced stigmatization of people caring for COVID-19 patients in nonclinical settings, making people feel like they’re doing something to help, serving as a reminder to be compliant with other measures, and economic benefits for people who can sew homemade masks
  • Despite the fact that cloth masks are far less effective for blocking potentially infectious respiratory droplets, the WHO recommends cloth masks should be worn by infected persons in community settings
  • A policy review paper published in the CDC’s journal Emerging Infectious Diseases found that masks did not protect against influenza in non-healthcare settings
  • Harms and risks of mask-wearing include health effects associated with poor air quality and toxic ingredients in the mask, self-contamination caused by manipulation of the mask by contaminated hands, general discomfort, facial skin lesions, irritant dermatitis or worsening acne, and a false sense of security that may reduce adherence to other preventive measures such as hand hygiene

According to the director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, life will not be returning to your old normal anytime soon. What’s more, things will only get worse unless the public follow health advice such as wearing masks and social distancing. The somber announcement came during a July 13, 2020, press conference (above).

This, despite the fact that the WHO’s June 5, 2020, guidance memo1 on face mask use states there’s no direct evidence that universal masking of healthy people is an effective intervention against respiratory illnesses.

What’s more, people are being urged to use cloth masks or bandanas (ostensibly to prevent shortages among health care staff), none of which conform to any kind of quality standards, and according to what little scientific evidence is available have been shown to provide only about half of what little protection you may get from a surgical mask.

No Direct Evidence to Support Universal Mask Usage

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