Letter: ‘Many people continue to debate the efficacy of face masks to help prevent viral spread’

Pennsylvania psychologist Gerald A. Solfanelli believes New York Times article offers the ‘definitive answer’

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com

Despite President Biden’s recent declaration that COVID-19 has finally and thankfully entered its endemic stage, many people continue to debate the efficacy of face masks to help prevent viral spread. 

Pennsylvania psychologist Gerald A. Solfanelli
Pennsylvania psychologist Gerald A. Solfanelli

I believe that November’s NYT article finally offers the “definitive answer” to the COVID face mask question. Even though there have been numerous similar studies, I refer to the NYT article (“When Can the Covid Masks Finally Come Off?” – archive.ph/Ea9oJ) as the “definitive” answer to the mask question, because ironically it was published by the NYT to actually promote mask use.

As I began reading the NYT article, which is based upon recent research, however, I was curious as to why it appeared to be so nonspecific: Masks are a “valid strategy to reduce Covid-19;” “…mask mandates curb the spread of the virus;” Dr. Luby’s study (same Stanford researcher interviewed for the article) found that mask-wearing led to “declines in Covid cases.” How valid? Reduce by how much? Curb by how much? Decline by how much? The article never actually says.

After reviewing Dr. Luby’s study (bit.ly/3HHetuG), the results show an actual benefit of only about 9.5 percent.

Unlike bacteria, we know that you actually need an electron microscope to even see a virus. Therefore, wearing a face mask (other than a N-95) would be nearly analogous to a screen door on a submarine! 

The fact that people tend to re-wear masks, is also problematic with respect to increasing the likelihood of sustaining bacterial or viral infections (including infection from SARS-CoV-2). In 2020, Dr. Fauci had even said that mask wearing has “unintended consequences” as “people keep fiddling with their mask and they keep touching their face,” which may actually increase the risk of contracting and/or spreading the virus. 

Therefore, any potential benefit of that meager 9.5 percent is undoubtedly negated!

Gerald A. Solfanelli, M.S.
Pennsylvania psychologist

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