A prominent gay rights activist known for his AIDS/HIV activism revealed Friday how the central study the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used to justify its new mask guidance may be flawed.
What is the background?
The CDC revised face mask guidelines this week, recommending that fully vaccinated Americans who live in regions with high rates of COVID-19 transmission need to mask up. The agency previously said that fully vaccinated Americans should neither social distance nor wear face masks.
To justify the new guidance, the CDC said data show that fully vaccinated are becoming infected by the so-called "delta variant" or they carry COVID-19 and spread the virus to others.
The CDC released that data on Friday, highlighting the "highly transmissible" nature of the delta variant. The CDC's study focused on an outbreak in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, that caused the 14-day average incidence rate in the county to go from zero cases per 100,000 people to 177 cases per 100,000 people over a span of just two weeks. The CDC discovered that most of the infections (74%) occurred in fully vaccinated people.
What is the flaw?
According to activist Peter Staley, the CDC is not accounting for a major event that happened in Provincetown — a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts — during the same time period as the outbreak: "Bear Week," an annual gathering of thousands of gay men.
The event explains why 85% of the cases occurred in men, and means the CDC updated their national guidance using, in part, skewed results.
"If the CDC has increased their Delta Ro because of the Ptown cohort, then they are overstating it for the general population. The cohort was 85% male (WaPo and NYT have both failed to mention this). Hello, it was Bear Week," Staley explained. "@apoorva_nyc rightly mentions packed bars, etc., but everyone is missing the horny bear in the room. Bears go to Ptown to have lots of fun which includes lots of sex. News flash, gay men KISS when they have sex."
"If you asked an ID expert to suggest the most efficient way for an infected vaxd person to infect another vaxd person, she'd say 'let them deeply kiss for half a minute.' Hoping CDC used other cohorts for their new Ro. Ptown's is skewed by (gay) boys being boys," Staley continued.
Staley added, "Even during its gayest week, Ptown is NOT 85% male tourists. The cohort skews 85% male for a reason. CDC is being too politically correct in not explaining this skew."