There she goes again—Governor Kristi Noem is spreading misinformation about coronavirus and masks, saying the risks of the disease are minimal and the research on masks is mixed:
…Noem appears selective in the research she uses for her decisions, pointing to studies that indicate a low health risk from the virus, while downplaying scientific findings that show masks could slow the spread of the disease.
“We cannot sacrifice the educational, physical, emotional and social well-being of our kids. The risks of COVID are too minimal for us to make sure that they’re all going to stay home,” Noem said at a news conference at John Harris Elementary in Sioux Falls.
Noem said forcing children to wear masks is impractical and may lead to infections spreading if children touch their faces more frequently. Her stance on masks defies a push from the South Dakota State Medical Association to require face masks in schools.
…The governor cast doubt on a broad consensus in the medical community, including from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that wearing a mask could prevent the spread of the coronavirus, saying there is “very mixed research and the science has not proven what’s effective and what isn’t” [Stephen Groves, “Governor Pushes Schools to Remain Open, Disparages Masks,” AP via U.S. News and World Report, 2020.07.28].
Asked what science she’s reading to justify her hogwashery, Noem goes full Sarah Palin:
The governor has repeatedly said she is committed to making decisions based on science. When a reporter asked her how she prioritizes the barrage of research to inform her decisions, Noem said: “I am reading it all. And that is why we’ve been challenged because it’s been all over the map” [Groves, 2020.07.28].
Reading all of the science? More like ignoring it. She’s not reading the science from the Mayo Clinic:
Can face masks help slow the spread of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19? Yes, face masks combined with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing, help slow the spread of the virus [“Covid-19: How Much Protection Do Face Masks Offer?” Mayo Clinic, retrieved 2020.07.29].
…or from Stanford:
I’ve heard so many misconceptions about cloth masks. Some people think that if you wear a mask for long periods of time you will trap and breathe in excess amounts of carbon dioxide, which could lead to brain damage. That’s just not true. A properly constructed mask provides more than enough ventilation. In fact, one way to test if your mask is well made is to try to blow out a candle through the mask from about 1 foot away. If you can’t do so, your mask might be too tightly woven. Other people feel that wearing a mask encourages people to touch their face and to loosen their adherence to other safety precautions like social distancing and hand washing. We’ve found the opposite. Wearing a mask reminds people to continue to be cautious. With a mask on, you actually touch your face less. People who experience skin irritation should ensure their mask has a layer of wicking fabric, like cotton, against the face, and everyone should change the mask if it becomes wet or dirty. Finally, it’s been suggested that mask-wearing may increase the concentration of viral particles around an infected person’s mouth and could increase the severity of the illness. While it’s true that some studies of health care workers have suggested that the viral dose is an important determinant of infection, it’s different for someone who is already infected. If you are sick, you already have the virus in your lungs; it’s not going to get any worse [Senior research scientist Amy Price, Ph.D., in Krista Conger, “5 Questions: Stanford Scientists on Covid-19 Mask Guidelines,” Stanford Medicine News Center, June 2020].
…or from her own Dear Leader:
America’s youth will act responsibly, and we’re asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask, get a mask. Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact. They’ll have an effect. And we need everything we can get [Donald Trump, press conference, White House, 2020.07.21].
Everything you are saying about masks and coronavirus is wrong, Kristi. If you really were reading all of the science, you’d know that.
Related Idiocy: Governor Noem is discouraging schools from setting clear metrics related to infection numbers to determine when to close down. Clear metrics are a benchmark of scientific decision-making. Governor Noem clearly doesn’t want decisions made by science.