'Two-way street': CDC report says masks protect wearers and everyone else


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  3 weeks ago  •  27 comments

By:   Erika Edwards

'Two-way street': CDC report says masks protect wearers and everyone else
Why does wearing a mask protect you from coronavirus? CDC guidance on face coverings says masks benefit both the user and those nearby.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

Wearing a mask not only protects others from the spread of Covid-19, but it protects the wearer as well, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday in its strongest messaging yet on face coverings.

The CDC also said that "adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns," particularly when combined with a doubling down of mitigation strategies available to virtually every American: physical distancing, hand washing and ventilation.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, spreads mainly through respiratory droplets, especially when people are coughing, sneezing, singing, talking or even breathing. Infectious disease experts have long said that when one person covers his or her mouth and nose, it protects those who are nearby. The CDC report estimated that more than 50 percent of transmissions originate from asymptomatic people, or those who have been infected but have not yet developed symptoms.

Dr. Fauci: Masks are 'a two-way street'

When the CDC first urged Americans to wear face coverings in public in spring, the guidance was that it protected others. But there is growing evidence that a mask can also give protection to the person wearing it.

"Studies demonstrate that cloth mask materials can also reduce wearers' exposure to infectious droplets through filtration, including filtration of fine droplets and particles less than 10 microns," the report's authors wrote.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, agreed that it is increasingly clear that the benefit of wearing masks is a "two-way street."

"Recent data has now shown that as a matter of fact, there's also the added benefit to protect you from droplets and virus that's coming your way," Fauci said Tuesday on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports."

"You protect others," he said. "Their masks protect you. And your mask also protects you."

There's been hesitation to say that masks provide that benefit, "not because it doesn't protect the wearer so much as because the exact degree to which it protects the wearer isn't as clear," said Dr. John O'Horo, an infectious disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.


Biden urges mask-wearing to help get the country 'back to normal'

But O'Horo added that it is logical to assume that masks can indeed protect against inhaling larger droplets; it's a reason why health care workers routinely wear masks.

Infectious disease doctors who have urged the CDC to change the messaging around masks believe it will be a more effective public health strategy. "I'm thrilled that it's happening now," said Dr. Monica Gandhi, professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco. "I think it helps people comply with the regulation if they think it's helping them."

The new report comes amid a growing push to require mask use. President-elect Joe Biden has implored all Americans to cover their faces as a way to slow the spread of Covid-19. The Infectious Diseases Society of America tweeted praise for Utah's governor for issuing a mask mandate, and urged "all governors who have not yet enacted mask mandates to do so."

And beginning Wednesday, all Iowans over age 2 are being urged to wear masks when gathering indoors with at least 25 people.

IDSA commends @GovHerbert for taking this critical step toward getting the COVID-19 outbreak in Utah under control.
We urge all governors who have not yet enacted mask mandates to do so. #MaskUpAmericahttps://t.co/YsSWxCuhJH
— IDSA (@IDSAInfo) November 9, 2020

The CDC report also highlighted an economic analysis from Goldman Sachs released in June that found "increasing universal masking by 15 percent could prevent the need for lockdowns and reduce associated losses of up to $1 trillion or about 5 percent of gross domestic product."

Which masks are most effective?

The type of mask appears to make a difference. "Try to get at least a two-ply cloth mask," O'Horo said, "and make sure it's tightly woven."

Dr. Scott Segal, chair of anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, agreed that fabric quality matters.

One test is to hold a mask up to a light. Segal suggested passing on masks that allow the light to outline individual fibers in the cloth.

Segal partnered with the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine to test a variety of cloth materials to see which ones not only allowed for breathability, but also filtered small particles. The team previously found that the best masks were constructed of two layers of heavyweight "quilters cotton" with a thread count of at least 180.

"If you're going to wear a mask, you might as well wear one that offers as much protection as possible," Segal said.


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Buzz of the Orient
1  Buzz of the Orient    2 weeks ago

It's most important to wear a mask in order to prevent OTHERS from getting infected by you - even though you don't think you are infected yourself, because you might be infected but asymptomatic so you don't know for sure.  I think this new opinion is to convince people to wear masks mostly for that reason.  Personally, although there has not been a new case of the virus for many months where I live I STILL wear a mask and stay as far away from others who are not as I can because why do you think they tell you not to touch your eyes - because even if you are wearing a mask it doesn't cover your eyes.  Think about that.  The big problem in the USA is selfish disdain of any limitation of individual rights and freedoms - and that's not a physical ailment but a stupid ignorant selfish careless unthinking attitude problem.  Do you want to see the USA get back to normal life like it is here in China, THEN WEAR A FUCKING MASK, GOD DAMN IT. 

Greg Jones
1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    2 weeks ago

I religiously followed the spacing and masking protocols, and still caught it. No idea where or when, or if I spread it.

Will continue to mask up until the  vaccines are available

Bob Nelson
1.1.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1    2 weeks ago


Greg Jones
1.1.2  Greg Jones  replied to  Bob Nelson @1.1.1    2 weeks ago


1.1.3  bccrane  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1    2 weeks ago

There was a segment on the news, might be about a couple months now, which showed and medical worker in full wardrobe complete with face shield, she was handling a covid patient then reached up under her face shield, with her gloved hand, readjusted her face mask by grabbing it around by her nose and pulling it up, she just contaminated her mask in close proximity to her nose and eyes.  Going into stores, where basically everyone is wearing a mask, I see people adjusting their masks all the time, some after it has been below their nose for a while, then they return to handling items on the shelf, which in turn are handled by other people who then readjust their mask and so on and so forth.  If the stores have them, I use the hand sanitizer stations whenever possible and not only on my hands but also wet my mask with it.

These masks are always humid by your breath and holding grounds for the virus either from you or from where it collects it from the air.

1.1.4  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1    2 weeks ago

Excellent...... Keep on with the mask thing.  All of us need to.

Bob Nelson
1.1.5  Bob Nelson  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1.2    2 weeks ago

I was perfectly sincere. 

Paula Bartholomew
1.1.6  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  bccrane @1.1.3    2 weeks ago

I carry a mini bottle of sanitizer in my fanny pack in case a store doesn't provide any for the customers.  I also keep a daily log of where I have been in contact with people, dated ant timed in case, God forbid, I get it and the contacts have to be traced.  Occasionally I forget to log, but I figure, every entry helps.

Bob Nelson
1.1.7  Bob Nelson  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @1.1.6    2 weeks ago

Bravo ! 

1.1.8  bccrane  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @1.1.6    2 weeks ago

I keep hand sanitizer with me also in our vehicles.

Most of my trips are for business and have receipts and bills of lading for everywhere I go with date and time stamps and that is my log.  Even if you go to the store or restaurant keep the receipt for they'll have the dates and times on them also.

2  Nerm_L    2 weeks ago

Well, the article seems to assume that people are not wearing masks.  But is that assumption a fact?  What is the prevalence of mask wearing in the United States?

According to Pew Research data the prevalence of masks has increased sharply but this data is 4 months old. 

More Americans say they are regularly wearing masks in stores and other businesses

I understand the desire to transform Joe Biden into a new messiah because of his propensity to spend public money.  But assumptions that fit that political bias aren't facts.  Evidence says that people are wearing masks.  

Kicking a dead horse may be entertaining.  And obviously the experts think that kicking the dead horse is useful.  But the available evidence does show that horse really is dead.

We're seeing new outbreaks in long term care facilities again.  And we seeing small household gatherings act as mini-spreader events.  People are planning to travel and gather for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, so we should expect that behavior to result in increased spread, too.  We are experiencing an increased spread resulting from activities where masks and social distancing are not as feasible.

The guidelines are still important.  The guidelines still need to be followed.  But there isn't any need to spread misinformation just because Joe Biden is the new messiah.  That's not useful.  And that is extraordinarily insulting.

2.1  igknorantzrulz  replied to  Nerm_L @2    2 weeks ago
Kicking a dead horse may be entertaining.  And obviously the experts think that kicking the dead horse is useful.  But the available evidence does show that horse really is dead.

I love to kick the dead horse down the rode, and my neighbors don't get upset, as they kick it for entertaintmeants sake as well, but, what horse, flies inn the face of reason dispite all we all don't nose, cause , sum times the variables = more than other sum. Times and discoveries R still a changin, and wear there is change to where, eye c myself wearing it, cause if your cause, was to give me a cause that wood make me give paws, sorry, my too, nonsense is for the taken, back where i take back fronts on the side showing, that most thinkin individuals Ken sea depths of confusion whence the illusion is the conclusion, from so many width the height of know nowledge, in sew many areas stitched by fabrications torn to tear a tear right out wons bile vile duct, cause i c i wood have hit my fckn head, if it wasn't for sum thing you said, but hey, "That's not useful. And that is extraordinarily insulting." but, not to moi', asz i can't bee extra ordinarily. or under ordinarily, insulted, causes that would not be won of mine, shafted cause not drafted to be AWOL on Veterans Day, knighyts shine, while others blur visionaries of a science experiment still in the pre- schooling of thoughts , sum, might think less of, minus  the addition of my two nonsense, that reigns like a Rich A whole life spreading LIES faster than the peoples who DIE, due to , said LIES. We will SEE very SOON who treated this PANDEMIC like the TRUE THREAT IT IS/WAS , and who LIED causing many needless deaths, to prop up his crumbling foundation found in a nation where IGNORANCE is KNOW longer the rule, but, i can possibly make an acceptation, except, i won't, cause my cause is diametrically opposed to that of , and i will, up yours, but ewe new old LIES don't age as well as whines

2.2  Nerm_L  replied to  Nerm_L @2    2 weeks ago

Here is a CDC report on prevalence of mitigation efforts.  While the report was published Oct. 30, the information is only pertinent for the period of April to June so the information isn't timely and isn't really very useful beyond enhancing the curriculum vitae of the authors.  

COVID-19 Mitigation Behaviors by Age Group — United States, April–June 2020

Here is a speculative conclusion from the report that IMO should be highlighted:

"Across age groups, increases in mask use and decreases in other mitigation behaviors might reflect elevated promotion of mask use over time, along with the lifting of shelter-in-place orders and reopening of business, service, hospitality and other sectors."

Masks, alone, are not sufficient to reduce spread of the virus.  The other mitigation components of social distancing, hygiene, and isolation when ill are of equal or greater importance than wearing masks.  The singular emphasis and promotion of wearing masks distracts public attention from the other necessary mitigation efforts. 

Following all the guidelines is more important, by far, than only wearing a mask.  A mask does not allow someone experiencing symptoms of COVID to go out in public; isolating the sick is critically important.  A mask does not eliminate the need to wash hands and clean surfaces.  A mask does not mean people can be close to each other anywhere.

The political promotion of masks as a divisive partisan issue may well have decreased mitigation efforts overall and may well have contributed to increasing spread of the virus.  

Joe Biden really is spreading misinformation that has contributed to the country taking its eye off the ball.  Joe Biden's political promotion of masks really is killing people.  Don't allow political biases prevent demanding that Joe Biden follow all of the science.  In efforts to control the pandemic, half truths aren't any better than outright lies.

2.2.1  bccrane  replied to  Nerm_L @2.2    2 weeks ago

As I see it, the mask promotes another human condition, like if you don't wear glasses you don't find yourself always pushing the glasses back up onto your nose, if you don't wear a mask you don't have a reason to put your hands up to your face to readjust the mask, wearing a mask increases the likelihood of your hands touching your face.  To throw a question out there, is the higher use of masks now the reason for the increased cases?  Unlike a hospital setting where the protocol is frequent sanitizing and hand washing the general public doesn't do that and masks may have now become a problem.  

2.2.2  Nerm_L  replied to  bccrane @2.2.1    2 weeks ago
To throw a question out there, is the higher use of masks now the reason for the increased cases?  Unlike a hospital setting where the protocol is frequent sanitizing and hand washing the general public doesn't do that and masks may have now become a problem.  

I have observed people fiddling with their masks.

Remember the two steps for putting on a mask: position and pinch.  Position the mask on the face to cover nose and mouth and for comfort.  Pinch the metal strip on the mask to fit the mask to the face.  If the mask is properly fitted then it should stay in place.

2.2.3  Nerm_L  replied to  bccrane @2.2.1    2 weeks ago
Unlike a hospital setting where the protocol is frequent sanitizing and hand washing the general public doesn't do that and masks may have now become a problem.  

Washing hands involves more than just soap and water.  There is a proper way to wash hands.  Hand sanitizer should be used in the same manner.

Paula Bartholomew
2.2.4  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  bccrane @2.2.1    2 weeks ago

The only time a mask is a problem is when people don't wear them.  You follow the conspiracy theorists, false information, and TRTB idiots if you wish, I will follow the science and the medical experts.

Buzz of the Orient
2.2.5  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @2.2.4    2 weeks ago

There is no cure for "stupid".

2.2.6  bccrane  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @2.2.4    2 weeks ago

Science and medical experts are making recommendations for a perfect world and what I laid out is my observations of an imperfect world.

If I'm so into conspiracy theories, why am I taking the extra precautions of hand sanitizer to the point of even wetting my face mask with it or even wearing a mask at all?

2.2.7  bccrane  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2.2.5    2 weeks ago

Not sure how to take that, was that comment aimed at me or Paula and should it be flagged?  If it was for conspiracy theorists then I would leave it alone.

Buzz of the Orient
2.2.8  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  bccrane @2.2.7    2 weeks ago

Absolutely NOT aimed at you or Paula.  I was remarking about those who selfishly refuse to wear masks referred to in Paula's first sentence. 

3  JaneDoe    2 weeks ago

Everywhere I go I see people with them around their chins, nose not covered, constantly touching them and you have some people that think they are invincible because they wear a mask. If you don’t use them correctly they won’t work!

Here is a good example of what not to do.

3.1  MUVA  replied to  JaneDoe @3    2 weeks ago

That is exactly right some think wearing a mask gives you the ability to go anywhere and do anything like demonstrating or going to large victory parties.

3.1.1  JaneDoe  replied to  MUVA @3.1    2 weeks ago

I know. Crazy times we live in.

Paula Bartholomew
3.2  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  JaneDoe @3    2 weeks ago

Unless you can provide further video of him then touching his face or touching other people afterwards, then yours is a nothing burger.

3.2.1  JaneDoe  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @3.2    2 weeks ago

My mistake. Reply @4

4  JaneDoe    2 weeks ago

You’re right. It is such a perfect example of how to use a mask that the CDC should use it as an ad to show all Americans the proper way to use them.

Then they can show this one to show you only need the mask when you think someone is watching.


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