Do Masks Work?

Burning question that. To wear or not to wear? Science has the answer. Oh? Yes and no, says this writer in City Journal. Surely, the idea got off to a rocky start:

“Seriously people—STOP BUYING MASKS!” tweeted then–surgeon general Jerome Adams on February 29, 2020, adding, “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus.”

Two days later, Adams said, “Folks who don’t know how to wear them properly tend to touch their faces a lot and actually can increase the spread of coronavirus.”

Less than a week earlier, on February 25, public-health authorities in the United Kingdom had published guidance that masks were unnecessary even for those providing community or residential care: “During normal day-to-day activities facemasks do not provide protection from respiratory viruses, such as COVID-19 and do not need to be worn by staff.”

About a month later, on March 30, World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Program executive director Mike Ryan said that “there is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any particular benefit.” He added, “In fact there’s some evidence to suggest the opposite” because of the possibility of not “wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly” and of “taking it off and all the other risks that are otherwise associated with that.”

Surgical masks were designed to keep medical personnel from inadvertently infecting patients’ wounds, not to prevent the spread of viruses. Public-health officials’ advice in the early days of Covid-19 was consistent with that understanding.

Then something (must have) happened. On April 3 of that very same year, the same Jerome Adams said the CDC was changing its guidance . . . the general public should . . . wear masks whenever sufficient social distancing could not be maintained.”

A dizzying round, wouldn’t you say? It got dizzier, as we know:

Sen. Rand Paul has been suspended from YouTube for a week for saying, “Most of the masks you get over the counter don’t work.” Many cities across the country, following new CDC guidance . . . are once again mandating indoor mask-wearing for everyone, regardless of inoculation status.

The CDC further recommends that all schoolchildren and teachers, even those who have had Covid-19 or have been vaccinated, should wear masks.

It’s not easy being a CDC.

more coming . . .