During a White House Press Briefing on Friday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded to former President Biden COVID-19 adviser and top epidemiologist Michael Osterholm’s statements that cloth masks are “not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out.”
“[Osterholm] said, in a television interview this week, regarding mask-wearing — specifically the cloth masks, like so many of us are wearing here and what the kids are wearing in school — right? — largely. He said it’s a — that the scientific community has been doing a disservice to the public on face coverings,” a report said. “He said that cloth masks like these have very ‘limited’ impact on the amount of virus that you inhale or you exhale out. And he also said that he’s really disappointed in his colleagues for not making that more clear to the public.”
“And that’s sort of in line with the study that Governor DeSantis is citing as the basis for his executive order,” the reporter asked. “So how do you respond to that?”
“I think you’re confusing a few things there,” Psaki responded. “But let me first say that Osterholm is not an advisor to the President, to the administration, to the White House. He doesn’t work here. He’s a private citizen and a medical ex- — a public health expert. But a lot of public health experts are out there speaking, and good for them.”
It should be noted that Osterholm served on Biden’s COVID-19 Advisory Board of 13 health experts who were appointed by Biden to guide him on the pandemic during the presidential transitionary period.
“I will say that we are going to continue to rely on the advice of medical experts in the federal government on what kind of masks we all should wear, what kind of masks kids should wear,” Psaki continued. “And if they change that advice, then the Department of Education will be working with schools to make sure that’s implemented as a mitigation measure.”
“The issue we have taken with the guidance of Governor DeSantis — which he, of course, is fundraising off of, I think we should note — is that he is preventing schools and teachers and others from protecting themselves and the students in their classroom,” Psaki said. “And as a mother myself, that’s concerning. And I’m sure it’s concerning to mothers in Florida.”
Psaki’s comments echo her previous false claim that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis banned children from wearing masks in school. The policy in Florida allows parents to decide whether their child should wear a mask at school, instead of the government.
Last week, Biden COVID-19 Advisory Board member Michael Osterholm said during a CNN interview, “We know today that many of the face cloth coverings that people wear are not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out.”
“We need to talk about better masking,” he continued. “We need to talk about N-95 respirators, which would do a lot for both people who are not yet vaccinated or not previously infected.”
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