A top scientist has warned that cloth sheet masks are not going to protect people from the fast-spreading covid-19 Delta variant.
The warning comes as some US states and cities face the potential of a mask mandate in response to the Delta variant.
Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, says most masks are ineffective .
“When one dawns a cloth mask, microscopic aerosols break through the material whether when people snuff or inhale, Osterholm said in an interview with CNN.
‘You know I wish we could get rid of the term masking because, in fact, it implies that anything you put in front of your face works, and if I could just add a nuance to that which hopefully doesn’t add more confusion is we know today that many of the face cloth coverings that people wear are not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out’, Osterholm said.
He explained that when one wears a cloth mask during a wildfire, you are still able to smell the burning flames, exposing the flaws of a cloth mask.
“Either you’re breathing out or you’re breathing in and in fact if you’re in the upper Midwest right now anybody who’s wearing their face cloth covering can tell you they can smell all the smoke that we’re still getting,” he added.
Last month, Scott Gottlieb, MD, former Food & Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner, said that the right quality mask was necessary to protect against a strain as contagious as the Delta variant.
“It’s not more airborne, and it’s not more likely to be permeable to a mask. So a mask can still be helpful,” Gottlieb told host John Dickerson.
“I think, though, if you’re going to consider wearing a mask, the quality of the mask does matter. So if you can get your hands on a KN95 mask or an N95 mask, that’s going to afford you a lot more protection.”