Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson attended a fundraiser for a Virginia congressional candidate on Monday in which attendees were not wearing masks, BuzzFeed News reports.
Carson attended a fundraiser for Republican Bob Good, who is running to represent Virginia’s 5th Congressional District against Cameron Webb (D). Press was denied access to the event, according to a reporter for the Prince William Times, but several photos of the event were posted on Facebook.
The photos posted show Carson and other attendees congregating at the indoor event without masks, going against the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health. While he is shown eating in some of the photos, he is also seen in others simply talking with other guests without wearing a mask.
The Virginia Department of Health requires people to wear masks “when spending time in indoor public settings.” However, it is unclear whether the event took place at a public or private setting.
Virginia also mandates that dining establishments separate parties six feet apart from each other, but the photos do not show the parties separated.
Carson appears to be contradicting his own public advice on face coverings. During an interview with ABC in June, Carson said of wearing masks: “If we all do it, it will make a dramatic difference.”
Video: AP FACT CHECK: Trump flubs study on masks and coronavirus (Associated Press)
The Trump administration has been downplaying wearing masks since the beginning of the pandemic, and has not let up despite mandates on face coverings across the country.
During an NBC town hall last Thursday, Trump misrepresented a September study from the CDC, falsely claiming that it showed 85 percent of individuals who wear masks contract the virus.
The study found that adults with confirmed COVID-19 cases were about twice as likely than those who tested negative to have reported dining at a restaurant before falling ill. The CDC later tried to correct misconceptions about the study, tweeting that “the interpretation that more mask-wearers are getting infected compared to non-mask wearers is incorrect.”
The president was asked if he had changed his mind on the effectiveness of masks after contracting coronavirus himself earlier this month, and said he had not.
Good has said he’s not convinced that wearing masks makes a difference.
“I had one doctor tell me that wearing a mask is like putting up a chain link fence to keep out mosquitoes,” he said in an interview with NBC Washington.
Trump endorsed Good in September after he beat out incumbent Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) in the state’s June primary election. Webb, a physician, has outraised Good in the predominantly right-leaning district on the Virginia-North Carolina state line.
The Hill has reached out to Carson and Good for comment.
NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says laxity could lead to a new surge in infections, as authorities reported 54,044 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, taking the overall tally past 7.6 million.
The Health Ministry on Wednesday also reported 717 additional deaths for a total of 115,914.…
By Robin Foster and E.J. Mundell
TUESDAY, Oct. 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Seeking to slow the spread of coronavirus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended on Monday that face masks be worn by everyone in all public transportation settings.
That includes both passengers and people working in stations, terminals and airports across the country, CBS News reported.
So far, the Trump administration has not issued any national mandate on face coverings, instead leaving that decision to state and local leaders.
In the new interim guidance, the CDC called masks “one of the most effective strategies available for reducing COVID-19 transmission.” Wide use of masks helps protect those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 as well as workers who frequently come into close contact with other people in airports, bus terminals, train stations and seaports, the guidance stated.
Most U.S. airlines, Amtrak and many other transport companies already require passengers and staff to wear masks, CBS News reported. The CDC urged passengers and workers on all airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-shares to follow suit.
For months, research has shown that face masks help curb the spread of COVID-19. In the new guidance, the CDC said everyone “should wear masks that cover both the mouth and nose when waiting for, traveling on, or departing from public [transportation]. People should also wear masks at an airport, bus or ferry terminal, train or subway station, seaport, or similar area that provides transportation.”
The guidance also urges transport operators to “refuse boarding to anyone not wearing a mask and require all people onboard, whether passengers or employees, to wear masks for the duration of travel,” with exceptions for eating, drinking and medical disorders that prohibit mask wearing.
Reopened NYC schools not seeing surge in COVID cases
Three weeks after becoming the first big urban area to reopen public schools since the pandemic began, New York City is not seeing a feared surge in cases among students and staff.
Instead, health officials are seeing a surprisingly small number of COVID-19 cases, The New York Times reported.
Of the more than 15,000 staff members and students tested randomly in the first week of its testing regimen, the city has gotten back results for close to 11,000. There were only 18 positives: 13 staff members and five students, the Times reported. Even better, when officials put mobile testing units at schools near the Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods that have had new outbreaks, only four positive cases surfaced in more than 3,300 tests conducted since the last week of September, the newspaper said.
New York City is facing fears of a second wave of the virus fueled by local spikes in Brooklyn and Queens, and official have closed more than 120 public schools as a precaution, the Times reported.
Still, the sprawling system of 1,800 public schools is a bright spot as the city tries to recover from a pandemic that has killed thousands and weakened
The U.S. Centers and Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines on Monday calling for all passengers and workers on planes, trains, buses and other public transportation to wear masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The CDC explained in the guidance that travel on public transportation increases the risk of spreading COVID-19, especially in cases in which passengers or employees cannot practice social distancing.
“Given how interconnected most transportation systems are across the nation and the world, local transmission can grow quickly into interstate and international transmission when infected persons travel on public conveyances without wearing a mask and with others who are not wearing masks,” the CDC’s guidance reads.
The recommendations follow pressure from airline industry leaders, as well as widespread agreement on the effectiveness of masks and face coverings in blocking the spread of COVID-19, The Washington Post noted.
The Monday recommendation came after a request from Vice President Pence to CDC Director Robert Redfield, according to the newspaper. The new language gives the airline industry greater leeway in pressing passengers to wear masks.
The move also comes after the White House blocked the CDC from implementing a rule mandating that all passengers and employees wear face coverings on transit, The New York Times first reported. That order would have been the administration’s strictest measure to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The new CDC guidance states: “Face masks help prevent people who have COVID-19, including those who are pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic, from spreading the virus to others. Masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.”
The guidelines provide exemptions for some travelers including children under the age of two and others with written instructions from a medical provider not to wear masks.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: ‘The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it’ Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE, who initially downplayed the efficacy of masks, was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this month. He has since recovered.
Health officials agree that wearing a face mask or covering and social distancing are the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19.
President Trump chastised Joe Biden for regularly wearing a face mask during the first presidential debate.
WASHINGTON – As President Donald Trump questioned the efficacy of mask wearing during a town hall Thursday night, Democratic challenger Joe Biden was doubling down.
Literally, as Biden likes to say.
The former vice president said he arrived at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia for his separate town hall with an N95 mask under the blue surgical mask that he wore onto the stage.
“I walked in here with this mask, but I have one of the N95 masks underneath it. And I left it in the dressing room, the room I was in before I got here,” Biden said when talking about the importance of masks to stop the spread of COVID-19 – and the importance of modeling good behavior.
“When a president doesn’t wear a mask, or makes fun of folks, like me, when I was wearing a mask for a long time, then people say, well, it mustn’t be that important,” Biden said on ABC.
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden wears two face masks as he arrives at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Tuesday Oct. 13, 2020. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)
Photographs show Biden has worn double masks at other times on the campaign trail, including when he got off his plane in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday and when he boarded a plane to Michigan Friday.
A member of the charter aviation company that was on Tuesday’s flight later tested positive for COVID-19. The campaign said Thursday that Biden didn’t need to quarantine because he was never in close contact with the staffer. Biden wore his N95 mask throughout the flight, according to the campaign.
Biden’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment on why he wears two masks and when he started the practice.
Dr. William Schaffner, a professor and infectious disease expert at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, said he’s not aware of any recommendation, or medical study, about wearing a surgical mask over an N95.
“It’s a practice with which I’m not familiar,” he said. “I don’t know that the surgical mask adds anything.”
Worn properly, an N95 is “extremely effective” at preventing the mask wearer from both getting and spreading a virus, he said.
A second mask, Schaffner speculated, might be worn out of an abundance of caution and to “give the visual cue that they’re taking mask wearing seriously.”
“But certainly we don’t do that in the health care setting,” he added.
Dr. Sonja Rasmussen, a professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at the University of Florida College of Medicine and College of Public Health and Health Professions, said a surgical mask can