CNN’s medical expert Dr. Leana Wen doubled down on her recent comments that cloth masks are nothing more “decorative” face-coverings and essentially useless against the coronavirus. On Tuesday morning, Wen highlighted the clip and implored Americans to wear medical-grade masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Cloth masks are not appropriate for this pandemic,” Wen told CNN’s John Berman on Christmas Eve. “It’s not appropriate for Omicron, it was not appropriate for Delta, Alpha, or any of the previous variants either because we’re dealing with something that’s airborne. We’re dealing with a virus that’s extremely contagious.”
“At the very beginning of the pandemic, we didn’t know about masking,” she continued, “And then we didn’t have enough high-quality masks for health care workers and so we were trying to ration those. But then pretty quickly we recognized that COVID is airborne, and also that there are really high-quality masks that protect us from getting COVID.”
However, she encouraged viewers to double mask with “high-quality” masks typically used in a medical setting.
“And so at this point, what people should do is wear at least a 3-ply medical-grade, surgical mask,” Wen stated. “Ideally, you’re double-masking, so if you really want to do that cloth mask, too, you can do the three-ply surgical mask and then the cloth mask that’s more well-fitting on top of that. Even better would be the N-95, K-N95, or KF94, the respirator masks.”
“And really at this point, we should all be wearing these very high-quality masks. If our country and different jurisdictions are going to go as far as to mandate masks in some settings, let’s at least wear the most effective masks,” she stressed. “I’m not saying don’t wear a face-covering at all, I’m just saying if we’re going to do it, do it the right way and really use it in the way that it’s intended to prevent us from spreading and acquiring COVID-19.”
“Public health experts have been saying for many months that mask quality really matters,” Wen also tweeted Tuesday morning. “A simple cloth mask won’t do when we are dealing with a highly contagious, airborne virus. People should at least wear a 3-ply surgical mask, or ideally N95 or KN95.”
Public health experts have been saying for many months that mask quality really matters. A simple cloth mask won’t do when we are dealing with a highly contagious, airborne virus. People should at least wear a 3-ply surgical mask, or ideally N95 or KN95. https://t.co/F48u8trN5c pic.twitter.com/b5iItB2L7s
— Leana Wen, M.D. (@DrLeanaWen) December 28, 2021
Last week, The Daily Wire reported that Wen advised tourists traveling to New York City for New Year’s Eve festivities to be vaccinated, boosted, and wear something more effective than a cloth mask:
“Make sure that you’re vaccinated and boosted,” she said on CNN. “Make sure that you’re wearing a mask even though it’s outdoors. There are lots of people packed around you, wearing a three-ply surgical mask.”
“Don’t wear a cloth mask,” Wen continued. “Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. There’s no place for them in light of Omicron.”