Cloth masks are not going to provide a lot of protection against COVID-19 at this stage in the pandemic, a top health expert said on Sunday.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner and Pfizer board member, stressed how scientists now understand just how much the coronavirus spreads through airborne transmission, which cloth face coverings are not very effective against stopping, versus droplet transmission.
“Cloth masks aren’t going to provide a lot of protection, that’s the bottom line. This is an airborne illness. We now understand that, and a cloth mask is not going to protect you from a virus that spreads through airborne transmission. It could protect better through droplet transmission, something like the flu, but not something like this coronavirus,” Gottlieb said on CBS News’s Face the Nation.
Gottlieb was responding to host Margaret Brennan, who asked what he would tell parents at a time when hospitalizations among children with COVID-19 are surging. Gottlieb went on to say there is a “perception that young children haven’t been hit hard to date from coronavirus.”
He said “that’s just not true,” and noted “we’ve recorded more than 600 pediatric deaths from COVID over the last two years” compared to three deaths attributed to flu among the pediatric population in the two most recent seasons.
More than two years after the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in Wuhan, China, the virus has spread across the globe, leading to 290 million recorded infections and more than 5.4 million related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
A winter surge in cases is being fueled by the omicron variant, which scientists say is more transmissible than the other strains, including among vaccinated people, while early data show it generally causes less severe illness.
This is an excerpt from The Washington Examiner.