By Jack Phillips, January 4, 2022
Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb has said that cloth masks don’t provide much protection against the Omicron variant of the CCP virus, in the midst of a spike of cases nationwide.
Gottlieb, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner, said scientists understand that the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, is transmitted via airborne particles. Cloth face coverings aren’t very effective at stopping those particles, as opposed to transmission via droplets, he said in a CBS interview on Jan. 2.
“Cloth masks aren’t going to provide a lot of protection, that’s the bottom line,” Gottlieb told CBS News‘ “Face the Nation.” “This is an airborne illness. We now understand that, and a cloth mask is not going to protect you from a virus that spreads through airborne transmission. It could protect better through droplet transmission, something like the flu, but not something like this coronavirus.”
Gottlieb wrote on Twitter that Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, “deployed millions of N95 masks to high-risk settings, schools,” and other locations.
“If we’re asking [the] public to assume more individual responsibility to protect themselves, and not implementing population-wide measures, we must make sure people can access tools needed to stay safe,” Gottlieb wrote.
About a week ago, Lamont drew headlines when he told reporters that he doesn’t believe masks work against the Omicron variant. To make his claim, Lamont cited a growing number of COVID-19 cases in New York, the most densely populated area in the United States, which requires masks to be worn in indoor public areas.
“If I think about things, I certainly think about nursing homes and other congregate settings where I think the booster shot is probably the No. 1 priority, to make sure everybody that can be boosted is boosted there. That would be my next priority,” Lamont said.
In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, announced in December that businesses in her state will have to either require masks or proof of COVID-19 vaccination. However, days later, Hochul appeared to go back on her order and said counties have the option to opt-out.
Some of the state’s county executives said it would be impossible to enforce such a mandate.
“My health department has critical things to do that are more important than enforcing this, and I think small businesses have been through enough already,” Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, a Republican, told media outlets in December. “God forbid the governor directs the state police to go out and enforce it.”