Conspiracy theories about the facemask’s role in combating the spread of the deadly coronavirus refuse to fizzle away. People are increasingly questioning their need even as the U.S continues to register record numbers of infections at the back of one of the world’s highest death rates. Some people have already found a way to fuel the fire, using footage of Dr. Anthony Fauci to question and criticize the face mask’s role in the fight against COVID-19, or even images from opening night of the Washington Nationals baseball game where he sat isolated in a nearly empty stadium.
Facemask Conspiracy Theories
While the video has been viewed over 2.5 million times on Facebook, it omits a quote by the infectious disease expert on purpose to perpetuate wrong and misleading information. Dr. Fauci is on record reiterating his support for a face mask as the understanding of COVID-19 improved.
Manipulation of the video does not come as a surprise as it was shared by two well-known supporters of U.S President Donald Trump. The president has refused to wear a face mask on more than one occasion, hinting at his concerns about their effectiveness.
His resentment does not come as a surprise given that Fauci at one time also did questions the use of face masks, reiterating that if it wasn’t 100% effective at the peak of the crisis in March, how effective is it now. However, things have changed as COVID-19 medical research and understandings from the first case to over 145,000 deaths across the United States have improved significantly.
Facemasks & The Economy
While many argue against the science that encourages wearing masks, Goldman Sachs researched the impact of masks on the economy and found that Mask wearing could save the domestic economy from a 5% hit to GDP.
As was summarized by the researchers at Goldman Sachs, “Thus, the upshot of our analysis is that a national face mask mandate could potentially substitute for renewed lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP. It is important to recognize that this estimate is quite uncertain because it is based on a number of statistical relationships that are all measured with error. Despite the numerical uncertainty, however, our analysis suggests that the economic benefit from a face mask mandate and increased face mask usage could be sizable.”
Misleading Covid-19 Information
The viral video on Facebook is part of an ongoing trend of misleading social media posts about Face masks. The videos also seek to discredit Dr. Fauci, who has, in the recent past, questioned how the Trump Administration has gone about trying to combat the pandemic. Fauci, as well as the Centers for Disease and Controls, have, in the recent past, found themselves at loggerheads with President Trump and his base.
Misleading information comes at the worst stage in the pandemic as new cases of infections continue to hit record highs. The number of deaths is on the rise, more than 617,000 people have already succumbed with the U.S leading in the number of deaths.
U.S COVID-19 Surge
The U.S has become a hot spot for infections with states such as California Texas and New York reporting record numbers. The spike in cases has come at the backdrop of people discrediting the directives, such as wearing masks and staying indoors, opting to follow misleading information blindly.
While the health department in the U.S continues pushing for the wearing of masks for people who were sick and those caring for them, many people continue to disregard the same. Expansion of the recommendation to public places has continued to attract fierce resentment as people remain fixated on misleading conspiracy theories about masks.
President Trump refusing to wear a mask long after health officials recommended the same has all but continued to exacerbate the situation given the strong base he commands. A spike in false and misleading information in social media networks and mainstream networks is the latest threat in the race to bring the pandemic under control.
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