BUT STATE EPIDEMIOLOGIST SAYS THE MASK DATA IS MIXED
Rep. Zack Fields, District 20 downtown Anchorage, believes all Alaskans should wear masks while in public and that quarantines should be enforced. His expert witness, an emergency room doctor from Anchorage, endorsed that view during a hearing today that occurred telephonically. Their comments came during a joint House committee meeting of State Affairs and Health And Social Services.
Andy Elsberg, M.D., a doctor from Anchorage’s Providence Medical Center, urged the mandating of face coverings in public spaces and to enforce quarantine measures for travelers entering Alaska. He didn’t say whether that enforcement should be by gunpoint or imprisonment.
And he had harsh words for the federal government’s handling of COVID-19 and agreed the directives on face masks have been confusing.
In regard to masks, “The reality is that the federal government has not put out a coherent message and you (as legislators) can’t control that. And there has been a lot of pandering to certain demographics, that with information, instead of sticking to a (unitelligible) response,” Elsberg said.
But at a Tuesday evening town hall meeting hosted by the Governors Office and moderated by Dr. Anne Zink, the public received a different message from a state epidemiologist who said there is no clear proof that the public wearing face masks will prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Epidemiologist Anna Frick said that the CDC has issued a recommendation that everyone in public should wear a cloth face covering.
“This is something that is kind of new to us to recommend. The data is pretty mixed on how well this works. It depends a lot on the fabric that you’re using and how well the mask fits you but at this point we think it probably provides some benefit,” she said.