To the Editor:
Last week the Stowe Reporter published a letter to the editor in which the author claimed that masks are not effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19 (“COVID-19: Use common sense, critical thinking,” April 1, 2021).
The author cited a journal article published in March 2021 in the “Annals of Internal Medicine” as evidence for his claim, stating that the study “showed conclusively that mask wearing did not reduce SARS-CoV-2 infection rates.”
I went online and actually read the journal article referenced (Bundgaard, et al. 2021). Far from drawing any definitive conclusions, the article does literally the exact opposite, stating that due to the limitations of their study “the findings are inconclusive, and that “findings do not provide data on the effectiveness of widespread mask wearing in the community in reducing SARS-CoV-2 infections.”
The letter to the editor then repeats multiple conspiracy theories about masks that have been rigorously and thoroughly debunked. In reality, every public health agency in the world recommends the use of masks as a safe, inexpensive and widely available tool to slow the spread of the virus.
The author then confuses vaccines for gene therapy, demonstrating a lack of understanding of both, and stoking unnecessary fears in coronavirus vaccines that have been safely administered to tens of millions of people worldwide.
Posing as a medical expert and propagating conspiracy theories and medical misinformation is dangerous to public health, especially during a pandemic.
I have tremendous respect for the professional journalists at the Stowe Reporter, so I was surprised to see that this letter somehow made it to print.