by Guy Page
Since last March, Vermonters have debated the most fundamental Mask Question: do they prevent transmission of Covid-19?
Today, in an effort to transmit useful information and stimulate fact-based public discussion, Vermont Daily presents two opposing perspectives.
Arguing the “pro” side of mask effectiveness, the CDC on November 20, 2020 published “Science Brief: Community Use of Cloth Masks to Control the Spread of SARS-CoV-2.” It is published separately on Vermont Daily today, and also can be read in entirety by clicking on the headline link. Main points:
- “SARS-CoV-2 infection is transmitted predominately by respiratory droplets generated when people cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe.”
- Masks are primarily intended to reduce the emission and inhalation of virus-laden droplets (“source control”).
- Masks are not foolproof: “Multi-layer cloth masks can both block up to 50-70% of these fine droplets and particles and limit the forward spread of those that are not captured.”
Taking the “con” position is Aaron Warner of Hartford, a boxing instructor and Cardiovascular Fitness Specialist and Cardiovascular Performance Specialist with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He argues in “Masked to Death,” published today in Vermont Daily, that masks do little demonstrable good but can do harm:
- there is a lack of reliable Random Controlled Studies (RCT) showing that masks prevent transmission in community and hospital settings
- Danish and Chinese studies show no transmission through asymptomatic people
- Broad use of masks, especially when exercising is linked to hypoxia (lack of oxygen delivered to the vital tissues of the body), hypoxemia (lack of oxygen available in the blood stream), headaches, and difficulty breathing.
Readers are invited to ask comments and questions. Both Warner and CDC and/or VT Dept. of Health experts will be asked to follow up, as needed.