An unnamed senior White House official has ridiculed the idea of sending free N95 masks to Americans because some people will not wear them, according to a new Politica report. The incident is reminiscent of when White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki ridiculed the idea of sending free tests to covid-19, before giving up just two weeks later.
The White House is at the moment considering the plan send free N95 and KN95 masks at big discounts in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which is currently ravaging the country. The United States reported 787,893 new cases and 2,483 new deaths on Tuesday, with a record 145,872 Americans in hospital with covid-19.
The CDC is reportedly considering changing its guidelines that would recommend Americans use N95 masks when available, as better quality masks are better at protecting mask wearers from covid-19 infection. But the CDC guidelines are still just rumors at the moment, with no official announcement that is clearly inevitable.
Yet Politico reports that the Biden administration is still trying to decide whether distributing free high-quality masks would be a good idea, as “half the country will not wear any masks”, according to senior official:
“It may be popular in certain corners of Twitter, but for masking to work as a public health tool, people actually have to wear it,” the official said. “To prevent proliferation, the focus should be on maximizing the number of people who simply wear the mask in the first place, not shifting targets to encourage everyone to use high-filtration masks to reduce the likelihood of inhaling particles on their own.”
Why should the White House even pursue smart public health goals if half the country doesn’t believe in them? Maybe because the other half of the country, supposedly Joe Biden’s base, would like to avoid getting sick and potentially dying from covid-19.
The White House before mocked the proposal that Americans should have the option of free testing at home on covid-19, but has sparked enough criticism to change the course within a couple of weeks. Approximately 500 million tests will now be shared for free via U.S. mail starting this month, but the free test search website has yet to be launched.
U.S. public health officials got involved in the pandemic early on because they ridiculed the idea that masks work at all, despite health experts in Asia insisting they are key to fighting the disease. Large studies have found this masks work, and better quality masks work better than canvas masks.
Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted back in June 2020 that he always knew masks would help reduce the spread of covid-19, but he did not want to recommend them to the general public because there was a shortage and everything available should be given to health professionals.
“Well, the reason we were concerned about the public health community, and a lot of people were saying that, was worried that it was at a time when personal protective equipment, including N-95 masks and surgical masks, was on very little supply “Fauci said June 2020.
“And we wanted to make sure that people, or health professionals, who were brave enough to put themselves in danger, took care of people you know are infected with the coronavirus and are at risk of infection,” Fauci continued.
But the U.S. no longer lacks high-quality masks as the world enters its third year of this pandemic. Between CDCs trailing behind recommends N95 masks and the CDC has recently reduced its isolation requirements from 10 days to five days to make private industry happy, it’s hard to imagine an organization that has lost more credibility in the American public.
The U.S. has recorded 62.4 million Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic and more than 841,000 deaths.