Facemasks more powerful than vaccines in COVID-19 battle — CDC's Redfield

The shoulder of a volunteer is seen as they receive an injection by a person wearing gloves

Trump also suggested that Redfield was confused when he said face masks may be more effective than a vaccine in some cases.

The CDC director told lawmakers that masks are a more effective means of protection against the coronavirus than a potential vaccine, but Trump said he spoke to Redfield afterward about his comments and that "if you ask him, he'd probably say that he didn't understand the question".

I think he made a mistake when he said that.

The CDC's game plan assumes that tens of millions of doses of a vaccine will be available to send freely to Americans - not just frontline workers - by January 2021.

"If the COVID vaccine is not highly effective, if we start giving it to a bunch of people and a lot of those people still get sick, that's going to hurt our ability to get a high proportion of people vaccinated", Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician and professor at Brown University, told The Dispatch on Tuesday, prior to this whole messaging snafu.

"I think one of those two individuals had more information than the other, and that was the president", he added. The Trump campaign has criticized Biden for fearmongering.

Biden wants to know "what criteria will be used to ensure that a vaccine meets the scientific standard of safety and effectiveness", as well as "who will validate that the decision" to green light a vaccine "was driven by science rather than politics". Trump told reporters he called Redfield, and said the director had misspoken.

And among those who intend to vote for President Donald Trump, 44% said they won't trust a pre-election vaccine compared with 39% who said they would.

Other top Trump administration health officials, including Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant secretary for Health and Human Services, and Dr Bob Kadlec, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services, also testified to the importance of mask wearing in preventing the spread of coronavirus.

The CDC's vaccine distribution playbook says that for planning purposes, state and local health agencies should assume "limited COVID-19 vaccine doses may be available by early November 2020" if a vaccine is authorized or licensed by the FDA, but the supply may increase substantially in 2021.

Barely an hour earlier the Democratic nominee said Mr Trump's refusal to take key steps to tackle the pandemic, like instituting national guidelines on social distancing and testing, were "utterly disqualifying" for the presidency.

Trump tried to cast doubt on the usefulness of masks, saying they have "problems" too. The coverings and masks have been shown to block at least some of the release of airborne respiratory droplets containing the virus when the wearer breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes.

As with all research, more clinical studies are needed to build upon the efficacy of face masks.

Using hamsters, they found that those housed behind a barrier made of surgical masks were less likely to get infected by coronavirus.



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