Infectious Disease Expert Urges Use Of Better Respiratory Protection

Infectious Disease Expert Urges Use Of Better Respiratory Protection Infectious Disease Expert Urges Use Of Better Respiratory Protection Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota speaks at a press conference Wednesday, April 22, 2020. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP, Pool)

By Fran Beyer | Sunday, 24 April 2022 11:13 AM

Infectious disease expert Dr. Michael Osterholm on Sunday urged the nation to get off the topic of mask mandates — and focus instead on effective respiratory protection.

In an interview on ABC News’ “This Week,” Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, doubled down on his recent criticism of confusing public health advice on mask protection.

“I am very, very strongly in support of a respiratory protection,” he said. “Someone can do a great deal to protect themselves and protect others if they’re using an N95 respirator.”

Osterholm explained the coronavirus is transferred by “aerosols,” which are “very fine particles that float into the air.”

“It’s like smoke. It’s like perfume. And you have to have a high quality respiratory protection device to protect yourself,” he said.

But most people aren’t doing that because they’re not wearing an N95 respirator.

“They’re wearing a face cloth covering or even a surgical mask, which is not effective in reducing transmission,” he said.

“I think that what we want to do is stop talking about masks and talking about effective respirator protection,” he asserted.

Osterholm said the public may not want the pandemic to be over, but it isn’t.

“The case numbers are increasing,” he said, but noted the numbers “are still relatively low.”

“That could all change tomorrow, and that’s what the public is not willing to hear. They want this to be over,” he lamented.

“And we have to just say with humility and honesty — I don’t know what this next 210-mile-an-hour curveball is going to be throwing at us by these variants.”

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