Dr. Fauci: ‘We Don’t Know’ How Less Likely People Are to Transmit Coronavirus When Wearing a Mask

Commuters wear masks as a precaution whilst travelling on a London Underground metro train in the morning in central London on March 18, 2020 as people take precautions amid the coronavirus outbreak. - The British government will on Wednesday unveil a raft of emergency powers to deal with the coronavirus …
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suggested in an interview with MarketWatch on Friday that young people are “becoming part of the problem” in the outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus and admitted that experts “don’t know exactly” to what extent people are less likely to transmit the coronavirus when they are wearing a mask.

“You don’t realize, probably innocently, that you are inadvertently propagating the outbreak. You are becoming part of the problem because, even if you get infected without any symptoms, it is likely that you are going to infect someone else,” Fauci said of young people, contending that it is their “duty and your civic responsibility” to follow the rules.

He continued:

Sooner or later, a vulnerable person gets infected and gets seriously ill. You should realize that it is your duty and your civic responsibility: You could be hurting someone else. That’s a tough message to get because some young people feel completely invulnerable.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force member also talked about the importance of wearing a mask and social distancing, although when asked for an estimate of “how less likely people are to transmit coronavirus if they’re wearing a mask,” he could not provide a definitive answer.

“We don’t know exactly. There have been a number of meta analyses. One published in The Lancet on June 1, 2020 said masks and respirators reduced the risk of infection by anywhere from 78 percent to 85 percent,” he said.

“Your guess is as good as any: 50 percent to 75 percent or 80 percent is probably correct,” he added.

Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said this month that universal masking for one to two months could get the Chinese coronavirus “under control,” despite a widespread lack of consensus on the matter.

As Breitbart News reported:

However, other studies emphasize the lack of a consensus on the matter. The New England Journal of Medicine, in a May study titled “Universal Masking in Hospitals in the Covid-19 Era,” stated, “We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection.”

….

The study suggested, more than once, that universal masking policies may provide more of a psychological benefit than a practical one.

“There may be additional benefits to broad masking policies that extend beyond their technical contribution to reducing pathogen transmission,” the Journal stated.

“Masks are visible reminders of an otherwise invisible yet widely prevalent pathogen and may remind people of the importance of social distancing and other infection-control measures,” it continued, stating that masks serve as “symbolic roles.” It also referred to them as “talismans that may help increase health care workers’ perceived sense of safety, well-being, and trust in their hospitals” and stated that “such reactions may not be strictly logical.”

However, the Journal issued an update on June 3, claiming that the “intent of [their] article was to push for more masking, not less.”

Fauci also spoke about the dangers of indoor restaurant dining and told MarketWatch that he is “not going to restaurants right now” while revealing that he is not flying either, as he remains in a “risk” category.

“I am in a risk category. I don’t like to admit it, but I’m 79 years old. I can’t think of a reason to go trans-Atlantic. Right now, I’m very sequestered. I’m on a coronavirus task force. I go to the White House almost every day,” Fauci explained.

“I spend half a day in my office trying to develop a vaccine and drugs for COVID-19, and that’s really what I need to do. I don’t fancy seeing myself getting infected, which is a risk when you’re getting on a plane, particularly with the amount of infection that’s going on right now,” he added, casting doubt on the effectiveness of temperature screenings:

I’m not sure taking temperatures is all it’s cracked up to be, because there are a lot of false negatives and false positives. It’s best to just question people: “Do you have any symptoms? Have you been near someone who is infected?” The time spent asking a couple of simple questions is probably more effective than just taking temperatures, to be honest with you

Fauci came under fire on Thursday after throwing the first pitch for the Washington Nationals’ season opener and watching the game, in-person, with his mask hanging around his chin:

While Fauci currently recommends masks, he did not feel the same way in March, telling CBS News’s Dr. Jon LaPook that “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.”

“When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is,” Fauci said at the time.

“And, often, there are unintended consequences — people keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face,” he added.

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