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Dr. Leana Wen says 'cloth masks are little more than facial decorations'

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Dr. Leana Wen, previously the president of Planned Parenthood, describes cloth face masks as "little more than facial decorations" and says the U.S. should require people to sport surgical masks in crowded indoor areas.

"Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations and should not be considered an acceptable form of face covering. The US should require (& distribute) medical-grade surgical masks to be worn in crowded indoor spaces," she tweeted.

"My point isn’t that we don’t need masks, but rather that we should require masks that are most effective to prevent disease transmission. Everyone, including children, should be wearing at least a 3-ply surgical mask when indoors & around others of unknown vaccination status," she said in another tweet.

Mask mandates have proliferated in connection with COVID-19, but while Wen describes cloth masks as unsuitable, many people have been wearing them throughout the pandemic.

Wen says more cities should issue mandates requiring people to furnish proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter certain places.

"If anyone should have their activities limited, it’s the unvaccinated," Wen wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece. "More cities should follow Los Angeles, Seattle and New York in requiring proof of vaccination to go to restaurants, concert venues and gyms. A federal vaccination mandate for plane and train travel would also incentivize vaccination and reduce the spread of future variants."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 65.4% of the U.S. population consisting of people ages 5 and older have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 77.4% of that demographic have received at least one dose.

Many people who are fully vaccinated have still contracted COVID-19, including people who have also received a booster.

"COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing infection, serious illness, and death. Most people who get COVID-19 are unvaccinated. However, since vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing infection, some people who are fully vaccinated will still get COVID-19," according to the CDC.

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