On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used Twitter to once again push the narrative that masks, even cloth masks, protect people from COVID-19. There’s just one problem: the way they’re hawking this data is deeply misleading.
A new @CDCMMWR study shows that people who reported always wearing masks or respirators in indoor public settings in California were less likely to test positive for #COVID19 compared with those who reported not wearing a face covering. Learn more. https://t.co/T8gaqiPHyI pic.twitter.com/6UJ9cs60NK
— CDC (@CDCgov) February 4, 2022
The CDC’s main claim, as shown in the above graphic, is that people who wore masks were much less likely to test positive for COVID-19. Even though everyone from former Biden advisors to CNN doctors has now acknowledged the uselessness of cloth masks, the CDC graphic still pushes the claim that cloth masks, too, can protect people.
Set aside this study’s tiny sample size and likely biased, self-reported results. Many viewers may have missed the barely noticeable disclaimer at the bottom of the post that noted the findings for cloth masks were “not statistically significant.”
So… the CDC pushed out a post and graphic touting the supposed protection of cloth masks even though the findings are actually statistically insignificant. Yes, seriously. This is propaganda, not science.
lol they put "not statistically significant" as a tiny asteric at the bottom 😂 this is propaganda not science https://t.co/LW3B9Dpv1Q
— Brad Polumbo 🇺🇸⚽️ 🏳️🌈 (@brad_polumbo) February 5, 2022
And it’s dangerous! At-risk people who see the CDC’s propaganda on cloth masks may mistakenly believe that cloth masks protect them. They could then go out in public without taking steps such as wearing N-95 masks, which actually have been proven to offer some degree of protection.
Moreover, this latest dishonesty only worsens the CDC’s credibility crisis.
It was viewed as highly credible before the pandemic. But now, nearly half of Americans do not trust what the CDC has to say about COVID. (Or much else!) And who can blame them?
This should prompt serious self-reflection at the CDC. But maybe the health agency simply considers this portion of the population “not statistically significant.”