President Shitferbrains has added a new lie to his vast arsenal of arseholishness, and it's a whopper: Since at least yesterday morning, Trump has been repeatedly claiming that a "CDC study" found that "85 percent of the people wearing masks catch" COVID-19. He has that pretty much backward, as we'll explain in a moment, but first let's be clear: Masks are effective in slowing the spread of the pandemic, and when the "president" of the United States gets basic science as completely wrong as he does here, it increases the risk of people getting sick and dying. No big, just a potentially deadly lie from the leader of the free world. AKA Thursday.


85 Percent Of Donald Trump's Exhalations Are Lies

So here's what Trump, apparently aping idiots on social media, is fucking up: A July study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that dining in restaurants is a huge risk factor for spreading the virus, since when people are eating and drinking, they aren't wearing masks. As part of that study, the researchers looked at 314 people in 11 states who got tested for the coronavirus after they started having symptoms. Roughly half (154 people) tested positive, and the rest tested negative. Researchers then did follow-up phone surveys to ask about a range of things people had done in the two weeks previous to being tested, and that's how they found that the folks who tested positive were twice as likely to have gone to restaurants.

The researchers also asked whether people had been wearing masks regularly, and 85 percent of those in the infected group said they wore masks "always" or "often." 88.7 percent of those who tested negative also wore masks always or often.

So that's where the "85 percent" number comes from, but it certainly doesn't mean that 85 percent of people who wear masks get sick. Why couldn't the loonies have just fixated — every bit as wrongly — on the other figure, and said all over Twitter that 88.7 of mask wearers don't get coronavirus? It would still be wrong, and could have its own set of bad consequences, but at least it would encourage mask wearing.

The only thing those numbers prove is that fairly large numbers of Americans were wearing masks — hooray! — but that in situations where people take their masks off to eat and drink, there's a higher risk of the virus being spread. It says nothing about the efficacy of masks in protecting people from the virus. As the Associated Press points out, if 85 percent of people wearing masks get the virus, that would mean the supermajority of Americans would be infected already.

Also too, the CDC guidance on masks emphasizes that the primary benefit of mask-wearing is that it helps prevent the spread of the virus by people who don't know they're infected. A CDC spokesperson said in a media statement that "At no time has CDC guidance suggested that masks were intended to protect the wearers," although research also suggests there's some risk reduction benefit for people wearing masks.

In addition and also, too, great big wag of the finger to the Associated Press, which got its fact check right as far as Trump's statement went, but instead of linking to the CDC study, linked to a blog post that came to a different wrong conclusion! The blogger claimed the CDC's data showed masks "aren't working" to prevent the spread of the virus, which isn't at all what the study found. Again, the analysis looked at the likelihood that the virus was being spread by people not wearing masks while eating and drinking at restaurants. Fortunately the AP fact-check didn't pass on that misinformation from its flawed source, but the link is bad enough. Be better, you choads.

While it might be nice to think someone will explain to Donald Trump that he's got the CDC study all wrong, we're not optimistic he'll stop saying it. He'd have to give two ripe shits about public health, for one thing. And he loves having an "other side" to argue against masks, and no we still can't for the life of us figure out why.

Sinclair Broadcasting Full Of Shit, Too

In other rightwing COVID-19 misinformation, the nice folks at Sinclair Broadcast Group are treating their viewers to a load of lies this week too, by way of the local broadcasting outlet's weekly tabloid news show "America This Week," hosted by former Fox News idiot Eric Bolling. During the show's opening monologue, Bolling falsely claimed that "closing down cities and economies and wearing your tube socks around your face hasn't slowed the virus down," and for good measure, repeated the long-discredited lie that the virus "has to have been altered in a Chinese lab" to become so dangerous, which is a hell of an example of compound bullshit. Let's just say it again: It's a bad, naturally occurring virus, its spread can be slowed by wearing masks and social distancing, and Sinclair Broadcast Group is not healthy for children or other living beings.

In conclusion, Donald Trump is holding a large event in Fort Myers, Florida, today, where the theme — apparently in a nod to Trump's new fondness for "herd immunity" — will be "keeping senior citizens safe."

Why, yes, it's a large indoor event, according to the press pool report. But maybe there won't actually be any senior citizens or people with risk factors allowed in the venue, you ever think of that? Florida isn't the sort of place where old folks go anyway.

[NBC News / CDC study / CNN / AP / Media Matters]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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