Fact check: Face masks do not weaken the immune system

Fact check: Face masks do not weaken the immune system

Claim: Wearing a mask will weaken your immune system, leading to the 'next wave' of coronavirus outbreaks once lockdowns lift.

It's "proven science," read a May 2 Facebook post that said mandated lockdowns are not effective.


Respondents to the post mostly agreed. "I literally have a panic attack wearing them. Barely wore them when I was working healthcare," read one reply.

More:Fact check: This optical illusion does not measure your stress levels

"Now maybe if it would actually help, I might consider wearing it," another wrote.

However, at least one dissenter wrote, "I don't care about me (weakening) my immune system, if I get it and bring it home I am basically digging a grave for my immune compromised 4 year old."

Will face masks weaken wearers?

Wearing a face mask can lessen the spread of the coronavirus from a sick person to a healthy individual, according the The Mayo Clinic. Masks are also suggested for people caring for someone with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

However, because they are not airtight and can encourage more — not less — face-touching, Mayo Clinic advised against masks for healthy people until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its recommendations last month.

In April, Surgeon General Jerome Adams asked the CDC to review its guidance on face coverings for the general public.

More:Fact check: What's true and what's false about coronavirus?

“We’ve learned there’s a fair amount of asymptomatic spread, and so we’ve asked the CDC to take another look at whether or not having more people wear masks will prevent transmission of the disease to other people,” Adams said.

The CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings over the nose and mouth in community settings — such as pharmacies and grocery stores — to help stop the spread of the virus by asymptomatic carriers. Children younger than 2 years old, people who have trouble breathing, or those incapacitated or unconscious should not cover their faces.

But face coverings should not be the only defense. People should still practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet away from others while in public. Avoid touching your face and promptly remove any sort of mask upon returning home, Mayo Clinic advised.

Governors in a number of states, including New York, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia, followed CDC recommendations by requiring residents to wear face coverings in public under various circumstances.

As part of their steps to reopen businesses, parks and other public settings, states like Arizona, Michigan and Ohio are recommending or mandating that people cover their noses and mouths in enclosed spaces.

Our rating: False

We rate this claim FALSE because it is not supported by our research. Risks associated with wearing face masks only apply to a select few in the general population. The CDC recommends everyone else use cloth face coverings while out in public to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Our fact-check sources:

Centers for Disease Control and PreventionThe Mayo Clinic

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/05/08/fact-check-wearing-face-mask-does-not-weaken-immune-system/3088954001/

News Related


Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment is premature and deadly. We have not defeated COVID.

Desperate for crowds and adoration, Trump has put his most fervent supporters at risk of getting a deadly disease. Future historians will be astonished. Read more »

NFLPA president JC Tretter says NFL is putting season, players at risk with its coronavirus approach

NFL Players Association president JC Tretter said Tuesday the NFL is putting the 2020 season at risk with its coronavirus approach, calling on the league to better “prioritize player safety.” “Like many other... Read more »

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he tested positive for the coronavirus

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity. Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and... Read more »

Venice Film Festival forges ahead amid COVID-19 pandemic with reduced lineup

The show will go on for the Venice Film Festival in September, but with a few modifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers said Tuesday that they are pushing forward with plans for... Read more »

Amtrak offers buy-one, get-one promotion on its sleeper trains amid COVID-19 — with a catch

Amtrak wants you to have sweet dreams the next time you travel — so much so that it’s sweetening the deal on its sleeper “roomettes.” The rail service is offering a buy-one-get-one-free discount... Read more »

Florida teen treated with hydroxychloroquine at home before dying of COVID-19, report says

FORT MEYERS, Fla. – The family of a 17-year-old Florida girl who died last month from COVID-19 treated her symptoms at home for nearly a week before taking her to a hospital, a... Read more »

Mookie Betts worried MLB coronavirus testing woes could prevent him from ever playing for Dodgers

During nearly four months away from the game, Mookie Betts said he “stayed away from baseball to keep myself sane.” It’s not hard to understand why. The 2018 American League Most Valuable Player... Read more »

Tom Hanks doesn’t get ‘how common sense has somehow been put into question’ with coronavirus

Read more »

Can Gov. DeSantis force Florida schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic? Some school leaders seem doubtful.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As concern about the state order spread online, some school leaders said: Not so fast. As Florida educators puzzle over how to start the new academic year, Gov. Ron... Read more »

Texas surpasses 200,000 coronavirus cases after 4th of July holiday weekend

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas reached 200,000 total COVID-19 cases Monday, just 17 days after crossing the 100,000 threshold, a figure that took the state nearly four months to hit. The grim milestone came... Read more »