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posted by martyb on Sunday May 17 2020, @04:27AM   Printer-friendly
from the I'm-shocked,-shocked-I-say dept.

U.S. Government Proposed Manipulating CDC Guidelines to Avoid Mask Shortages: Whistleblower:

The U.S. government proposed manipulating information about whether N95 masks worked to fight the spread of coronavirus in the general public, according to Dr. Richard Bright, a whistleblower who testified publicly for the first time on Thursday. The deception was an effort to avoid shortages and keep masks available for U.S. health care workers, but likely had a ripple effect throughout the country, leaving many people to believe that all masks are useless or even harmful during a pandemic. Bright's testimony is the first confirmation from a high-ranking official that the U.S. government actively sought to distribute incorrect information about N95 masks during the covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Bright told the House Subcommittee on Health on Thursday about his attempts to warn others in the Department of Health and Human Services about the pending shortage of masks in January and early February, just as the novel coronavirus was spreading outside of China. Bright said that officials at the meeting simply said they would change the recommendations put out by the CDC to discourage the general public from buying masks.

"I indicated we know there will be a critical shortage of these supplies. We need to do something to ramp up production," Dr. Bright, the former top vaccine specialist at HHS, said of a meeting with HHS officials on February 7.

"They indicated if we notice there is a shortage, that we will simply change the CDC guidelines to better inform people who should not be wearing those masks, so that would save those masks for our health care workers," Dr. Bright testified.

"My response was, 'I can not believe you can sit and say that with a straight face'," Bright said. "That was absurd."

[...] Dr. Bright's entire 6-hour testimony is available on YouTube, and it's quite damning.


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by RamiK on Sunday May 17 2020, @05:47AM (24 children)

    by RamiK (1813) on Sunday May 17 2020, @05:47AM (#995265)

    Fact is, there is no reason for Joe Sixpack to wear an N95 mask.

    That's not a fact. That's propaganda. The actual fact is that masks prevent much of the virus's spread through breathing and coughing and that the actual risk assessment research looking into it was reviewed by the WHO, the CDC and pretty much every other medical body in the world and they all concluded masks are necessary for the general population, not just the medical personal.

    Discouraging this, in hopes of preventing hoarding makes perfect sense.

    No it doesn't. It makes sense as a last ditch emergency order. Not months in advance of when you have recommendations from multiple professional bodies, both locally and abroad, of what needs be done and can still increase production and stockpile on supplies.

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by DrkShadow on Sunday May 17 2020, @06:32AM (14 children)

    by DrkShadow (1404) on Sunday May 17 2020, @06:32AM (#995274)

    The only point that I'm going to raise:

    The OP said "N95" masks -- not ye 'ole common cloth mask, which will keep droplets from spreading as you say, and is viable for joe six-pack. The common cloth masks are _not_ viable for health care workers, and so there's a clear priority.

    • (Score: 0, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @09:14AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @09:14AM (#995286)

      The problem is that people really want easy answers. "Yes mask" or "no mask." They don't really care or understand there are different requirements if you are outside, in a store, at the barber, etc. or if there are different requirements there is or isn't community spread or whether they are socially distancing or not or depending on who is wearing it or what they do while wearing it or whether or what stage of infection they are on or what stage of infection those around them are or that there are different types of masks that have different effects on the spread. They want an easy answer to save the mental effort for something more important or impending. They just want a Yes/No or a good/bad.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday May 17 2020, @10:47AM (12 children)

      Another relevant factor, have you ever tried to wear an N95 mask while doing anything but sitting absolutely still? My step-mother the RN can only go about half an hour max in one before she gets too lightheaded to safely treat patients. I can only manage about ten minutes in one doing light work at the church (cement and paint dusts aren't at all fun to breathe) but I'm in much worse shape than her and smoke. If they're being worn properly, they simply are not a viable option for Joe's daily wear mask.

      --
      My rights don't end where your fear begins.
      • (Score: 3, Touché) by gtomorrow on Sunday May 17 2020, @12:45PM (3 children)

        by gtomorrow (2230) on Sunday May 17 2020, @12:45PM (#995327) Journal

        My step-mother the RN can only go about half an hour max in one before she gets too lightheaded to safely treat patients.

        Seriously? Your step-mother is a registered nurse who all of a sudden can't work in what is considered standard equipment for her field?! Are you going to tell us now that your cousin the veterinarian is allergic to cats?

        As for you, my friend, I still call bullshit. Nobody says you have to wear the things 24 hours a day (take a smoke break away from people...you'd have done that anyway, COVID or not). Nobody says you have to wear them while working...if you work either alone or respect certain distances and safety regulations. In any case, your example is light construction work. Wouldn't you wear a freaking dust mask anyway or has this aversion to masks appeared only recently?

        I'm not discounting the fact that it's a pain in the ass on many levels but it's neither the insurmountable problem you and many others make it out to be nor is it forever. Jeez, just think if we were at war; what a bunch of crybabies the American public has turned out to be.

        • (Score: 4, Informative) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday May 17 2020, @01:12PM (2 children)

          N95 masks are not standard-wear equipment in medicine. They do not use any mask at all without reason and do not use N95 masks except when absolutely necessary. Even right now, nobody in the Mayo network wears an N95 mask unless they are actively treating a confirmed covid-19 case right at that moment. I dunno who's been filling your head with idiotic notions but you need to get yourself informed properly.

          As for me? We had to take angle grinders with steel wire wheels to paint on the basement walls and masonry blades on said grinders to clean out the mortar where it had cracked a bit but not enough to get hydraulic cement in to fix the crack. That's a lot of shit you do not want in your lungs and it's several days worth of having to do it. This does not gel with being unable to work more than ten or fifteen minutes at a time in an N95 mask, so we used masks other than N95 that we could actually breathe in.

          --
          My rights don't end where your fear begins.
          • (Score: 2) by gtomorrow on Sunday May 17 2020, @04:34PM

            by gtomorrow (2230) on Sunday May 17 2020, @04:34PM (#995400) Journal

            Regarding N95 masks not being standard equipment, that's not what Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org], although I see that's not the mask used typically. So consider me semi-corrected and better informed.

            Regarding your mask-covered mug, glad to hear that you are using some kind of mask. My point was working without any mask was a bad idea, especially in your situation.

            In your case maybe a nice rubber halloween mask would better...? I KID I KID! Just stay safe, okay?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @06:04PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @06:04PM (#995422)

            For long use, a bit of duct tape at the nose helps keep the eye protection clear.

            But, a rubber mask, preferable fed from a pressure source of fresh air is best for long jobs.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Sunday May 17 2020, @01:54PM (1 child)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday May 17 2020, @01:54PM (#995358)

        Below, some AC cited the reversal of COVID-19 in Austria post mask mandate... I feel that those results are likely more correlation than causation, meaning: the masks aren't the main factor keeping the people safer from infection, it's the behavioral changes that the mask mandate brought about that made the bigger difference. If people have to wear masks in public, they're going to go out in public less, be more "germ conscious" while they are out there, etc.

        It's not that masks don't help, I feel that behavior makes the bigger difference and forcing mask wearing effectively drives the good behavioral changes, at least in Austrians.

        --
        John Galt is a selfish crybaby [huffpost.com].
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @11:03PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @11:03PM (#995498)

        I call bullshit. Well, I call psychosomatic, inclusive-or bullshit.

        I've used N95 on site for 12h shifts minus food breaks. For thousands and thousands of hours total. The only time they are restrictive is in such particulate-filled air that the mask is pancaked (and discoloured!). That won't happen in day use.

        If you're so out of shape that you can't move without breathing through your mouth, then maybe the issue isn't the N95, but your cardio fitness. If you think you can't breathe enough through an N95 that's not clogged, you're not actually failing to breathe, you're just panicking and putting your body into limbic overdrive, and either imagining it, or self-causing it. If you hyperventilate with an N95 you will also get lightheaded.

        I've used stronger PPE than N95s too (cartridge masks, VO, oil, and non), and they are harder to breathe through than N95s. And guess what? They add a very very small metabolic overhead (slightly more force to draw in air) but less than walking by orders of magnitude.

        Maybe a better perspective: if you can walk while chewing for N minutes, you can walk for N minutes with an N95 on. The added metabolic load is less than chewing.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18 2020, @12:59PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18 2020, @12:59PM (#995727)

        Another relevant factor, have you ever tried to wear an N95 mask while doing anything but sitting absolutely still? My step-mother the RN can only go about half an hour max in one before she gets too lightheaded to safely treat patients. I can only manage about ten minutes in one doing light work at the church (cement and paint dusts aren't at all fun to breathe) but I'm in much worse shape than her and smoke. If they're being worn properly, they simply are not a viable option for Joe's daily wear mask.

        I wore them outside in the summer while cutting the grass with a walk behind mower. They limit your breathing, but not at such an extreme level as you are stating.

      • (Score: 2) by DeVilla on Tuesday May 19 2020, @04:13AM

        by DeVilla (5354) on Tuesday May 19 2020, @04:13AM (#996168)

        From what I've heard, Joe will probably need to shave or at least trim creatively to get a good seal with an N95.

  • (Score: 2, Troll) by Username on Sunday May 17 2020, @12:41PM (8 children)

    by Username (4557) on Sunday May 17 2020, @12:41PM (#995325)

    Fact is, there is no reason for Joe Sixpack to wear an N95 mask.

    That's not a fact. That's propaganda. The actual fact is that masks prevent much of the virus's spread through breathing and coughing and that the actual risk assessment research looking into it was reviewed by the WHO, the CDC and pretty much every other medical body in the world and they all concluded masks are necessary for the general population, not just the medical personal.

    Well, that's propaganda as well. Social distancing is what stops the spread of the virus. N95 masks do not filter when you exhale, only when you inhale. They are a negative pressure respirator designed to stop workers from breathing in too much sand. The virus will shoot out the sides of it along with your spit. They are not medical masks either, they are industrial masks. Hospitals use a medical grade mask. A single virus can infect you. That spit from the sides of the mask just needs to land on an eye, a fork, wherever. Doesn't even have to be spit, can be the fluid from eyelashes splashing on people, or urine splashes from the restroom. They even found covid19 in semen samples. So it's not very helpful to just to wear a mask without the rest of the PPE, then decontaminate before eating, bathing, urinating etc. Nobody is going to do all that. So the most effective approach is social distancing. Though that's not going to be a good solution either since, according to the WHO, this will come back every year like the flu. My guess, is eventually they will suggest the best thing is to let people get the virus and let them fight it off to build up an immunity instead of being bubble boys.

    So, I have to agree that there is no reason for Joe to think wearing a mask will protect him from covid19, or stop him from giving it to others. But, I do agree Joe should wear a mask if he wants. It doesn't hurt me that Joe does Joe things. I view people wearing mask to prevent covid19 the same way I view people with emotional support animals.

    • (Score: 2) by gtomorrow on Sunday May 17 2020, @12:52PM

      by gtomorrow (2230) on Sunday May 17 2020, @12:52PM (#995330) Journal

      Please see Comment 995320. [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday May 17 2020, @01:18PM (5 children)

      They do in fact catch any viral load being carried by spit particles, which is the primary worry. Shooting out the sides (and having to hit your face to do so) though is still a whole lot better than going directly where you've got your cock-socket pointed.

      --
      My rights don't end where your fear begins.
      • (Score: 2) by Username on Sunday May 17 2020, @03:53PM (3 children)

        by Username (4557) on Sunday May 17 2020, @03:53PM (#995387)

        That's kind of like saying my girlfriend is just a little pregnant since most of my sperm wasn't inside of her.

        • (Score: 1) by zion-fueled on Sunday May 17 2020, @06:16PM (1 child)

          by zion-fueled (8646) on Sunday May 17 2020, @06:16PM (#995423)

          Isn't she more likely to get pregnant with a full load vs some sperm that ended up on her finger? Millions of sperm and only 1 gets in the egg.

          • (Score: 2) by Username on Sunday May 17 2020, @11:44PM

            by Username (4557) on Sunday May 17 2020, @11:44PM (#995510)

            True, but sperm aren't self replicating. Most of your viruses not getting out doesn't help when only one will turn someone covid19 positive. Why would an epidemiologist wear so much gear against covi19 while Joe will get equal protection by just wearing a single mask.

        • (Score: 3, Touché) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday May 17 2020, @08:41PM

          No, it's not. Not even kind of. You really, really need to read up on viral contagion. Badly.

          --
          My rights don't end where your fear begins.
      • (Score: 3, Funny) by krishnoid on Monday May 18 2020, @02:40AM

        by krishnoid (1156) on Monday May 18 2020, @02:40AM (#995587)

        I learned a new euphemism today! +1 Informative :-)

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by krishnoid on Monday May 18 2020, @02:50AM

      by krishnoid (1156) on Monday May 18 2020, @02:50AM (#995592)

      My guess, is eventually they will suggest the best thing is to let people get the virus and let them fight it off to build up an immunity instead of being bubble boys.

      Funny enough, being stuck in one spot has meant disinterring a lot of ancient crud doing a lot of deferred cleaning, and tooling around on the ground in the back yard. I don't think I've ever been more continuously exposed to the local microflora/fauna than during this period.