CLOSE

A new report suggests that wearing a fabric mask not only protects others from COVID-1

9, but can also protect you.

USA TODAY

The statement: The CDC report shows that mask wearers are more likely to contract COVID-19.

It has been more than six months since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that Americans wear face masks in public places to combat the spread of COVID-19.

But some Internet users continue to question the effectiveness of covering their faces.

Facebook posts, for example, use a chart from the CDC’s weekly morbidity and mortality report to state that masks actually increase the risk of COVID-19 infection. One data point – that 70.6% of patients who tested positive for COVID-19 reported self-reportedly “always” wearing masks – was highlighted.

“This evidence suggests that masks actually help infect people who wear them,” the publication said.

Another publication claims that the data prove that “people who wear masks actually” collect “the virus in their masks. Air particles are absorbed into the masks and remain on our face instead of being dispersed.”

Users behind the posts – both shared thousands of times – did not respond to a request from the US TODAY for comment.

More ▼: Verification of the facts: What is true and what is false about the coronavirus?

The report shows that wearing masks helps prevent the virus and slow its spread

The schedule in the publications is legitimate and comes from the CDC’s weekly report on morbidity and mortality on September 11th. But both the graphics and the report support a very different conclusion from the Facebook posts.

The report analyzed the characteristics of 314 symptomatic adults who received positive and negative SARS-CoV-2 test results between July 1-29.

Of these 314 patients, 154 were positive, listed in the chart as “random patients”. Another 160 tests were negative, listed in the chart as “control patients”.

It is true, as the publication claims, that 70.6% of “patients with a case” report that they always wear masks. But an even higher percentage of “control patients” did no conclude a contract for the virus, which has always worn masks, at 74.2%, suggesting that wearing masks may have helped prevent the virus.

Another reason for both percentages is so high is because the majority of study participants – 226 out of 314 patients or 72% – report “always” wearing masks. Their widespread use makes it difficult to detect their effect.

On the other hand, only 11 patients in the study reported “never” wearing masks. So the percentage of people who took tests and never wore masks is guaranteed to be low – 3.9%, compared to 3.1% of people who tested negative.

Close contacts, social activities

The report finds that close contact with individuals with known COVID-19 is a major risk factor. Over 40% of “case patients” who tested positive had close contact with an infected person, compared with only 14% of “control patients”.

Given these statistics, the report recommends that anyone in close contact with infected persons take “additional prevention measures” to reduce transmission, such as “wearing gloves and wearing masks”.

The report also finds that participation in public activities that exclude the use of masks – such as eating or drinking – is a risk factor that further supports the importance of masks.

“Exposures and activities where the use of masks and social distancing are difficult to maintain, including visits to places that offer eating and drinking on site, can be important risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection,” it said. .

Verification of the facts: White House reporters wear masks on the field; a post that claims otherwise is false

Do masks collect particles or reduce the risk of COVID infection?

There is nothing in the report to support the claim that masks collect viral particles or make patients more will probably conclude COVID-19.

Wesley Self, one of the study’s lead authors and a professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, wrote in an email to Health Feedback that “We are not aware of any of our data showing that wearing a mask increases the risk of COVID-19. ”

Ben Neumann, a virologist at Texas A&M University-Texarkana, evaluated one of the publications and the PolitiFact report and concluded that “there is nothing in this (report) to indicate that wearing masks is associated with more coronavirus.”

“Honestly, I don’t even know how that could be possible,” he said.

In fact, numerous studies have found that wearing masks slows the spread of the coronavirus.

This is because COVID-19 is spread mainly by respiratory droplets. The masks provide a simple barrier to prevent airborne droplets from traveling in the air and on others when an infected individual coughs, sneezes or speaks, according to the CDC.

Masks are most effective if used widely in public.

Our rating: False

Based on our study, the claim that a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that mask wearers are more likely to take COVID-19 is FALSE. The report actually supports the effectiveness of masks to slow the spread of coronavirus. Many other studies also confirm this conclusion.

Our sources for fact verification:

  • USA TODAY, April 3, Trump: CDC recommends voluntary use of face masks to stop the spread of coronavirus
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, September 11, Weekly Report on Morbidity and Mortality
  • Health reviews, the use of a mask does not lead to a higher risk of COVID-19, as claimed by viral posts on social media
  • Politfact, October 13, no, masks do not collect the coronavirus
  • Wall Street Journal, August 13, face masks really matter. Scientific evidence is growing.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, August 7, Considerations for wearing masks

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or e-newspaper replica here.

Our fact-finding work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

Read or share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/10/15/fact-check-cdc-report-masks-covid-19-tests-misinterpreted/3643312001/