Scientific American says there's good evidence to support mandatory masking in schools. A careful look at the data suggest the situation is more complicated.
Given the abundance of readily available, free, effective (albeit imperfect) vaccines for many months, why are we seeing a surge in COVID cases and hospitalizations? Let's examine the three primary factors that dictate the severity of an outbreak of a viral illness.
A new clinical trial examining the efficacy of masking on COVID-19 transmission has garnered a lot of media coverage. What the study shows and what people have been told the study shows are very different.
 It has been sixty years since the Concert for Bangladesh; It is doubtful that this low-income country, with half the population and 1/66th the size of the US, has had as much coverage in the media as now, with a report on the efficacy of masks in fighting COVID-19. It is a well-thought-out, performed, and reported study and deserves better than the superficial reporting of the media and 280 character Tweets. Let me provide a deeper look.
As a result of the latest Presidential election, state legislatures are garnering a great deal of publicity about a host of new laws surrounding voter registration. More quietly, several states, in a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, are also seeking to restrain the activities of our public health officials.
Much of the concern regarding CDC guidelines for COVID-19 involves the perception that, at times, they are contradictory. And these perceived flip-flops can be used as political fodder. While some mix-messaging is due to our changing understanding of the deadly virus, it may often stem from the struggle between messages directed at overall public health, versus those for individuals.
There is a distinction between healthy concern for the coronavirus and deeply unhealthy obsession and paranoia. Guess which side Esquire magazine picked?
Much remains biologically uncertain about COVID-19, especially when it comes to its infectiousness. For example, how many particles must be taken to allow the virus to begin to replicate within oneself? On the other hand, the virus particle itself is subject to well-established laws of physics. So, when it comes to masks and social distancing, how can physics inform our understanding? Let's take a look.
Researchers in the journal Physics of Fluids  just published a visualization of the dispersion of droplets from simulated coughing. It's worth a look.
It was a bad idea last month; why publish it again? Mandating flu vaccine for healthcare workers is a no-brainer, the arguments against it are specious. So why did JAMA re-publish the article endorsing masks instead? They protect no one except fearful workers from imaginary dangers, while exposing patients to contagion.
As the federal government shuts down, some CDC and FDA functions will be compromised, and some threat to public health may arise. A JAMA op-ed piece approves of vaccination OR masks for healthcare workers. We disapprove.