I have been reporting on face masks for a year. This is what everyone gets wrong

On April 3, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) began recommending that people wear face masks, and I wrote my first article on masks a few days later. At the time, it seemed like a unique and odd item, a brief distraction before I could get back to writing about Rage Against the Machine concerts, but we are approaching a year where masks are essentially the only subject that I constantly write. about.

Like I said before, the more people use masks incorrectly, the longer I will have to write about them. I’m happy to do this, of course, because the opportunity to contribute in this small way during a pandemic has done more to keep me sane than anything else. But I’m sure you would rather read an article about Rage Against the Machine concerts right now. Undoubtedly, the stakes would be lower.

To be clear, this article is not about simple things. Most of us know that your mask should cover your nose, that masks are not a substitute for social distancing, and that vented masks do not work. It’s about the little things that have caused confusion or made you feel like everything is useless. I promise that today we will end on an uplifting note.

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Despite public confusion, CDC guidelines have not changed

A familiar refrain during this pandemic has been that CDC guidelines keep changing. NBC reported on this, CNN reported that the CDC was pressured to change targeting arbitrarily during the Trump administration, and I wrote about every little change or advance that happened here at SFGATE.

No one can be blamed for not knowing how to behave in a pandemic. After all, the official advice keeps changing, right?

Not really. The truth is that while there have been steady advances in understanding how this particular coronavirus works, the guidelines have remained largely the same:

  • Wear the best mask you can
  • Stay six feet away from everyone
  • Don’t touch your face

If you want to get to the nitty gritty, you can keep a close eye on which masks were deemed the best, or get into the debate among experts and government officials as to whether people outside of the healthcare industry should wear N95 masks, but none of that. it is strictly necessary. Doing the best you can is all we can do.

This is not to downplay the confusion or to let the CDC get out of hand. Messaging needs to improve. But the actual instructions are, and always have been, pretty straightforward.

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The wrong mask is not “worse than no mask”

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