During a recent episode of The Majority Report podcast, progressive commentator Sam Seder claimed that Donald Trump is attempting to spark a culture war over the use of face masks during the coronavirus pandemic.
Seder’s comment came after he addressed Dr. Anthony Fauci’s recent CNN appearance, where the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases stressed the importance of wearing a face mask to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“You wear a mask, they wear a mask, you protect each other,” Fauci said, noting the public should be engaging in the practice of sporting facial coverings.
Seder noted that Fauci — who has had to publicly push back on Trump’s comments on multiple occasions — was careful to avoid naming the president during his interview.
“We know who they’re talking about. This all like one big subweet that the president of the United States is trying to create a cultural — he’s trying to create a culture war over the use of masks during a pandemic. It’s f-ing nuts!”
Although Fauci noted that masks are not 100 percent effective, public health experts generally agree that they do prevent virus-containing droplets from reaching others, which is particularly important for asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19. Nevertheless, Trump has refused to wear a mask for public appearances and is believed by some to be stoking a culture war over the use of such preventative clothing.
As reported by Vox, new research suggests that Democrats are 20 percentage points more likely to wear masks in public than Republicans. The finding stems from an analysis of polling data on American self-reported behaviors and attitudes during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Mask-wearing levels are consistently lower across the board in states that voted strongly for Trump,” said Cornell’s Tom Pepinsky, one of the three researchers behind the study.
According to Kaiser Health News, experts are pointing to emerging data that suggests masks not only work, but will shape the course of the pandemic.
“We now have really clear evidence that wearing masks works — it’s probably a 50% protection against transmission,” said Dr. Chris Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
In addition, a recent pre-release study suggested that coronavirus cases in the United States would decrease to approximately one-twelfth of the number of infections if 80 percent of the population wore masks.
While critics have suggested that wearing a mask could cause carbon dioxide poisoning, Forbes reported that carbon dioxide molecules are too small to be contained by the majority of mask materials. The publication noted that coronavirus molecules are significantly larger than gaseous molecules like oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen.