The New York Times reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relied on a flawed study that said it had a 10 percent chance of spreading Covid-19 outdoors. After using the “misjudgment” to support outdoor mask mandates for over 300 million Americans, the CDC now says it is closer to one percent. It is astonishing that such an important and controversial component of our Covid guidelines was not just based on a misjudgment, but was never actively questioned or re-examined to discover the flaw.
Leonhardt of the Times noted, “There is nowhere in the world a single documented Covid infection caused by occasional outdoor interactions, such as being in the open air. B. when walking past someone on the street or eating at a table nearby. “
The outdoor risk has been a major source of disagreement with many controversial mask rules for those who go, work, or relax outdoors. It turns out that, according to the Times, the 10% benchmark is “partly based on a misclassification” of virus transmission in Singapore on various construction sites. These locations were mistakenly described as being outdoors, but now appear to have actually taken place indoors. Singapore also classified environments that were a mixture of indoor and outdoor areas as outdoor, including construction sites.
The real risk is one percent or less. Cities like Chicago, however, have closed entire parks – adding to the isolation and depression of citizens. Various cities like New York have closed playgrounds despite being outdoors and being used by the population with the lowest risk of Covid. States closed parks and trails that may have been key areas of release for people during the lockdown. When Washington, DC issued its mandatory outdoor mask in July 2020, the city emphasized:
Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, the World Health Organization and the District of Columbia Department of Health agree that wearing masks that do not maintain social distancing can drastically reduce the spread of the disease.
We spent trillions on this pandemic, and the subject of masks and outside movement restrictions has been on the news all the time. Little time or money, however, appears to have been devoted to this key component of the mandatory guidelines supported by the CDC and required by many states.
I can understand the reliance on an article in the prestigious Journal of Infectious Diseases. I cannot understand the failure to examine its basis carefully as it appears to be the main basis for policy. Hundreds of millions of Americans were affected as well as the economy. However, CDC is only now realizing that the article appears to be fundamentally flawed in its underlying assumptions and calculations.