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LETTER: RJ columnist is wrong about efficacy of masks

Updated October 29, 2020 - 10:39 pm

In his Oct. 23 column, Victor Joecks asked, “If masks work why are coronavirus cases increasing?” Cases are increasing because of the lack of social distancing at gatherings and the improper wearing of face coverings.

Mr. Joecks used a quote from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in May referencing influenza and another from a CDC 2018 blog to make his point. First, COVID-19 is not influenza. Second, the virus wasn’t a factor in 2018.

On July 14, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said “cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus, particularly when used universally within a community.” The CDC also recently said the pandemic could come under control in eight to 12 months “if all people in America wore a facemask, were smart about social distancing and crowds and practiced good hand hygiene.”

Duke University researchers concluded that “if 95 percent of people wear cloth masks when within 6 feet of other people in public it will reduce COVID-19 by at least 30 percent.”

A New York Times article recently reports on a new study led by Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which indicates a surge of infections, driven in part by neglect of safety precautions, has begun to overwhelm our hospitals.

Masks work only if everyone wears one properly, combined with social distancing.

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