A medical group issued a warning this week about wearing masks for respiratory viruses such as COVID-19, arguing that studies show they don't prevent their spread and instead violate patients' rights to informed consent.
"As mask mandates are contrary to the fundamental medical principle of informed consent, all masking mandates currently in place must be rescinded, and no future mandates should be imposed," the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a longtime conservative-aligned medical group, said in a statement, likely responding to recent hospital mask mandates that were reimposed in August.
Disagreement Over SafetyThe federal public health emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic expired in May.
In children, masking can be detrimental to a child's speech and language development, while "society requires facial recognition as a most basic component of interaction and communication," according to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
"Studies in individuals with age-related macular degeneration have shown that 'poor face perception in AMD is an important domain contributing to impaired social interactions and quality of life,'" the organization said. "Voluntary masking with no gain contributes to societal alienation."
New MandatesOn Friday, the University of Chicago Medical Center in Illinois announced that employees are mandated to wear masks while dealing with patients. Starting in August, several hospitals in Upstate New York, California, and Massachusetts issued mask mandates, although several of the facilities did not require them for patients or visitors, only staff.
In August, a liberal arts college in Atlanta confirmed it had reinstated a temporary mask mandate in response to what it said were student infections. The college later rescinded the rule after two weeks, the college's president told news outlets in early September.
Most recently, an elementary school in Montgomery County, Maryland, announced that it would require masks for a kindergarten class after it said several students tested positive for the virus. That drew outcry from several conservatives on social media, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
“To be clear, the rumors of a federal mask mandate are not true,” Jeff Nesbit, assistant secretary for public affairs for Health and Human Services, told The Associated Press. “We now have a range of tools for people to protect themselves from the impact of COVID-19, including vaccines, at-home testing and treatments. Masking is one of several steps people may choose to take to protect themselves if they wish.”
Previously, officials with the CDC and the Transportation Security Administration have told news outlets, including The Epoch Times, that no discussions about mask mandates or lockdowns have been held.
"What I see is I don’t see any need for mandates or those kinds of things right now. But we have to keep watching this virus, seeing how it changes, and if we need to make other recommendations, we will," the CDC director said on Tuesday.