A group of Florida parents concerned about the potential harm of wearing masks during the school day sent their children’s face coverings to a lab for analysis.
“We need to know what we are putting on the faces of our children each day. Masks provide a warm, moist environment for bacteria to grow,” said a parent who participated in the analysis, Amanda Donoho.
Of the six masks that were examined, five were contaminated with bacteria, parasites and fungi, noted Scott Morefield of Townhall.com. Three of the masks had dangerous pathogenic and pneumonia-causing bacteria.
No viruses were detected on the masks, although the test is capable of detecting them.
The analysis by the University of Florida’s Mass Spectrometry Research and Education Center found the following dangerous pathogens:
- Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumonia)
- Mycobacterium tuberculosis (tuberculosis)
- Neisseria meningitidis (meningitis, sepsis)
- Acanthamoeba polyphaga (keratitis and granulomatous amebic encephalitis)
- Acinetobacter baumanni (pneumonia, blood stream infections, meningitis, UTIs— resistant to antibiotics)
- Escherichia coli (food poisoning)
- Borrelia burgdorferi (causes Lyme disease)
- Corynebacterium diphtheriae (diphtheria)
- Legionella pneumophila (Legionnaires’ disease)
- Staphylococcus pyogenes serotype M3 (severe infections—high morbidity rates)
- Staphylococcus aureus (meningitis, sepsis)
Less dangerous pathogens also were identified, including those that can cause fever, ulcers, acne, yeast infections, strep throat, periodontal disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
The masks studied were new or freshly laundered before they were worn for five to eight hours by children aged 6 through 11. One was worn by an adult.
A T-shirt worn by one of the children at school and unworn masks were tested as controls. No pathogens were found on the controls.
Study: Mask mandates don’t slow spread
A recent study by the University of Louisville found that state mask mandates did not help slow the spread of COVID-19.
The researchers found that “masks may promote social cohesion as rallying symbols during a pandemic, but risk compensation can also occur.”
Among the risks:
- Prolonged mask use, more than four hours a day,
“promotes facial alkalinization and inadvertently encourages dehydration, which in turn can enhance barrier breakdown and bacterial infection risk.”
- British clinicians have reported masks to increase headaches and sweating and decrease cognitive precision.
- By obscuring nonverbal communication, masks interfere with social learning in children.
- Likewise, masks can distort verbal speech and remove visual cues to the detriment of individuals with hearing loss.
Current guidance from the CDC states that masks “are a simple barrier to help prevent your respiratory droplets from reaching others” and “studies show that masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth.”
Recently, the CDC updated its guidance to allow for fully vaccinated individuals to ditch their masks, a revision that has led to several states and companies updating their mask mandates to allow the same.
The first large, randomized controlled trial of its kind showed no statistically significant difference in COVID-19 cases between people who wore masks and those who did not.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control in October indicated that Americans were adhering to mask mandates, but the requirements didn’t appear to have slowed or stopped the spread of the coronavirus. And further, it found, mask-wearing has negative effects.
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons has compiled a page of “Mask Facts” showing that the consensus prior to the coronavirus pandemic was that the effectiveness of mask-wearing by the general public in slowing the spread of a virus is unproven, and there’s evidence it does more harm than good.
The most recent CDC guidelines still recommend mask use for anyone 2 years or older in public settings and when around people who don’t live in their household. However, in March 2020, the CDC said masks “are usually not recommended” in “non-health care settings.”
The same month, the World Health Organization recommended people not wear face masks unless they are sick with COVID-19 or caring for someone who is sick.
“There is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any potential benefit. In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest the opposite in the misuse of wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO health emergencies program in March 2020.
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