When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is and often there are unintended consequences. People keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face.
He also said, “Masks are important for someone who’s infected to prevent them from infecting someone else.” I learned that in school. That masks help contain infection, but they do not prevent infection.
After reading several papers on the matter, I have come to see that, as he says, masks might make a person feel better, but they do not stop a person from getting infected (especially since SARS-CoV-2 spreads via aerosol, tiny particles that can slip inside masks when we inhale).
The New York Times, May this year:
When you look at the data on mask-wearing – both before vaccines were available and after, as well as both in the U.S. and abroad – you struggle to see any patterns.
No patterns? It’s true. Sometimes cases rose after people started wearing masks, sometimes they fell. That may be because, as the paper below describes, there are a lot of contributors to case rise and fall, mask wearing isn’t a big one.
The increase in incidence of a respiratory borne illness over time, in a given population, is dependent upon various factors, including population density, climate, population age and general health. An initial period of exponential spread of a novel pathogen is expected, and exponential increases in the number of new cases has been observed historically at early stages of other epidemics. With or without medical interventions*, exponential growth is invariably tempered, beginning when a minority of the population has been affected.
* A mask is a medical intervention.