Experts warn that cloth masks don’t work (again), recommend tests – SFGate

Speaking on Monday, CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen said that cloth face masks have “no place” in the fight against the Omicron variant of Covid-19, likening to them “facial decorations.”

“Don’t wear a cloth mask,” she said.

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The advice isn’t new: experts have been shifting away from cloth masks since January at least, but the messaging hasn’t been remotely clear: the early days of the pandemic saw experts saying not to wear masks at all, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) still advises that anyone who isn’t a first responder shouldn’t wear an N95 mask at all while other prominent experts say that they’re the best option while CBS and NPR have both reported that millions of N95 masks have been manufactured and approved for use but are simply sitting in storage.

Dr. Wen also opined that “we should be keeping events that are safe, and have fun for people too. We can’t be cancelling everything, especially if we’re going to be living with Covid for the foreseeable future.”

She also said that if you’d like to see people who might be at particularly high risk for infection and complication, that you purchase an at-home test and make sure you’re uninfected before spending time with them.

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Getting vaccinated – and then getting the booster – is still the most effective way to prevent yourself from contracting and spreading all forms of the Covid-19 virus, including the new and somewhat mysterious Omicron variant, but masks are an essential part of staying safe while enjoying the holidays (which is something you should absolutely do for the sake of your own mental health – which is closely linked to, and just as important as, your physical health).

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In short,a summary of the expert advice seems to be this: Get your vaccine, get your booster, wear an N95 or a KN95 or a 3-ply surgical mask, and have as wonderful a holiday as you can.

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