New CDC director urges Americans to mask-up AGAIN over Christmas as Covid and other viruses spread – despite mounting evidence they don’t work
The CDC has issued a new call for Americans to mask up this holiday season — despite mounting evidence that they do not protect against respiratory viruses.
The new advice came via a video on the CDC's Twitter (X) account, in which CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen warned of the rise of several respiratory infections and offered advice on how Americans can protect themselves.
She urged people to get their latest Covid, flu and RSV vaccines, adding: 'Use extra layers of protection such as avoiding sick people, washing your hands, improving ventilation and – wearing a mask.”
It comes next one expert described the agency's approach as 'outdated' and unscientificand said there was now 'too much evidence' showing masks don't work to continue recommending them ruthlessly.
The above shows flu cases in the US. They have risen by 28 percent in two weeks, with around seven percent of swabs showing the virus in the last week of November, compared to five percent two weeks earlier
The above shows wastewater surveillance for Covid cases, which also suggests these have risen by around 20 per cent in a week
“We are (currently) seeing a lot of respiratory illnesses like flu, RSV, Covid and pneumonia,” Dr. Cohen, who was sworn in as director in July, said in the Twitter video.
'In the United States, RSV is elevated and flu continues to rise in most of the country and Covid is starting to rise again. We are also seeing an increase in the number of cases of pneumonia.'
Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco, told DailyMail.com that the CDC was “too slow” to keep up with the science.
The expert, who supported masks at the start of the pandemic, added that there is now “too much evidence” that masks are not being used.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, the new CDC director, has appeared in a video on social media to once again urge Americans to mask up
The CDC says masks are recommended in areas colored yellow or orange on the map above
Last week, an infectious disease doctor who advised the UK government during the pandemic, saying there was 'no evidence', stopped the spread of Covid and they warned and can instead give people a 'false sense of security'.
The director of the UK's health safety agency has also said it is 'uncertain' whether masks reduce Covid transmission.
Numerous reviews – including one from the esteemed Cochrane Institute – have failed to find solid evidence masks reduce Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths worldwide during the pandemic.
The CDC first recommended face masks in April 2020, after several weeks of telling people they were not necessary.
Dr. Cohen did not say where people should wear face masks, but the CDC is currently advising those who are not feeling well or know someone who is sick to consider donning the covering.
The agency also says that in areas with high Covid hospitalization rates – more than 20 admissions per 100,000 people – everyone should consider wearing masks.
This currently includes large parts of Montana and parts of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.
The video has been viewed 1.2 million times online, received 1,100 shares and 399 comments.
The director's message comes amid warnings of a 'syndemic' of respiratory infections this year.
Data shows that infections with the trio of Covid, flu and RSV are all currently increasing.
But there are also signs of an increase in other diseases, including pneumonia, which is caused in part by a bacteria called mycoplasma.
Wastewater surveillance for Covid shows infections rose 29 per cent in the week to November 29, the latest figure available.
760 copies of the virus were detected per milliliter of water last week, compared to 592 a week ago.
There has also been a rise in hospital admissions, up 14 per cent in a week over the same period to around 20,000 per week.
There has also been a rise in flu infections, with the number of positive swab tests increasing by 28 per cent in two weeks, rising to seven per cent in the week to November 29, up from five per cent two weeks ago.
And for RSV, the data also points to a rise in infections, with 16.5 per cent of tests in the week to November 25 returning a positive result for the virus, compared to 15.4 per cent the year before – an increase of eight percent.
Officials in Ohio's Warren County — just outside Cincinnati — have reported a spike in cases of pneumonia in children, caused in part by the bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae.
The CDC's recommendations on face coverings vary based on the level of hospitalization in a given area — and 31 states are following suit. Red states indicate those following CDC recommendations and brown states indicate those that do not recommend face masks or have limited recommendations
Researchers looked at 78 studies involving more than a million people around the world. The results indicated that surgical masks reduced the risk of contracting 'Covid or a flu-like illness' by just five percent – a figure so low it may not be statistically significant
There have also been reports of rising pneumonia infections in western Massachusetts and anecdotal mentions from doctors in several states.
A spokesperson for the CDC told DailyMail.com: 'The science of masking and its impact on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is complex, but the evidence is compelling that wearing masks helps prevent the spread of respiratory disease.
'Properly fitting, properly used masks reduce the spread of Covid, especially when worn by the majority of the population during times of high community transmission.'
The agency says that when Covid hospitalization rates are low – less than 10 per 100,000 people – “people can choose to wear a mask at any time.”
But when levels are moderate to high — 10 to 19.9 admissions per 100,000 people — the agency says, “If you are at high risk of getting very sick, wear a high-quality mask or respirator.
'If you have household or social contact with someone who is at high risk of becoming very ill… consider wearing a mask when you are indoors.'
When levels are high — 20 or more admissions per 100,000 people — the CDC says everyone should “wear a high-quality mask or respirator” and that high-risk individuals should consider avoiding nonessential indoor public activities.