The Centers for Disease Control now says that face masks with vents or valves — like the ones medical professionals sometimes wear to protect themselves from COVID-19 — don't prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
What are the details?
In health guidance issued last week, the CDC quietly announced that such masks can, in fact, increase the amount of "expelled respiratory droplets that can reach others."
The guidance reads, "The purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control. However, masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material, which can result in expelled respiratory droplets that can reach others."
"This type of mask does not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19 to others," the guidance adds. "Therefore, the CDC does not recommend using masks for source control if they have an exhalation valve or vent."
Dr. John Whyte, chief medical officer of WebMD, told Fox News in a recent statement that not all masks are created equal.
"Although there is some feeling that any type of mask is better than none, it's really not that helpful when one isn't wearing a mask correctly or wearing one that is ineffective, and may not even realize it," Whyte said. "These recent guidelines from the CDC are helpful in helping people choose masks."
He added, "I know everyone wants comfort when wearing a mask. The key for protection is a good seal — thereby keeping as many infectious particles that we can from affecting other people. Sometimes that seal makes our glasses foggy or causes humidity. The problem with the valves is that although the prevent particles from coming in, they allow particles to come out — defeating the purpose of infection control. Masks with vent decrease the effectiveness of the seal."
On Wednesday, the the Washington Post reported that several U.S. airlines have outright banned the use of valved masks.
The same day, Alison Taylor — chief customer officer at American Airlines — issued a statement on the move, saying, "Wearing a face covering is a responsibility we all share. An effective covering, worn properly, is one of the best ways we can control the spread of COVID-19 to protect our team members and customers. Since American began requiring face coverings in early May, the vast majority of customers have welcomed our continuing efforts to strengthen the policy based on the CDC's guidance."
The airline company says that masks that fit snugly against a wearer's face, which covers their mouth and nose completely, are acceptable — but that vented or valved masks are not permitted.
(H/T: The Daily Wire)