Osterholm: Cloth Masks ‘Not Very Effective’ — N95s ‘Could Do a Lot’ in Mitigating Spread of Coronavirus

During a Monday appearance on CNN’s “Inside Politics,” director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and former adviser to President Joe Biden’s transition team Dr. Michael Osterholm addressed the “confusion” surrounding how different states and local governments are handling the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Osterholm argued against the use of cloth face coverings as means of mitigating the spread of COVID-19. He emphasized the effectiveness of N-95 respirators, which he said “would do a lot” for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated in preventing the spread.

“First of all, we’re in a very unfortunate situation. We’ve really brought this country to a point of confusion, which really misses the main point that we should be focusing on vaccine, vaccine and vaccine,” Osterholm lamented. “You know, I wish we could get rid of the term ‘masking’ because, in fact, it implies anything you put in front of your face works. And if I could just add a nuance to that, which hopefully doesn’t add more confusion, is we know today that many of the face cloth coverings that people wear are not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out. Either you’re breathing out, or you’re breathing in. And in fact, if you’re in the Upper Midwest right now, anybody who is wearing a face cloth covering can tell you they can smell all the smoke that we’re still getting.”

He continued, “We need to talk about better masking. We need to talk about N-95 respirators, which would do a lot for both people who are not yet vaccinated or not previously infected, protecting them, as well as keeping others who might become infected having been vaccinated from breathing out the virus. So I think one of the things right now is we’ve just got to get a better handle on what does protect people and what doesn’t.”

Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent

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