Dr. Osterholm: ‘The Mask Mandate Has Been Really Overstated in How Much It Can Protect People’
OSTERHOLM: "Well, you know, without sounding as a contrarian or somehow trying to undercut public health, you have to know that I am a very pro-respiratory protection masking person, but that requires an N95 respirator. We know how highly infectious this virus is and to use face cloth coverings or even surgical masks leaves you still largely unprotected and that’s a big challenge. Well, if you look at the mask mandate, it was all about the vast majority of people wearing face cloth coverings or surgical masks, or if you’re on a plane and you're eating or drinking, you don’t have to wear it at all. I think the mask mandate has been really overstated in terms of how much it can protect people. If everyone was required to wear an N95, you couldn’t take it off for things like eating and drinking when the virus will not take a vacation, then I think it’s a very important tool. Unless you do that, I think we are basically expending a lot of public health capital for something that will have very little return."