Opinion

“Mask Resolution” is divisive, inaccurate

| Letter to the editor from Nancy Thomas |

To Members of the Select Board:

I have reviewed the proposed “mask resolution” which seeks to declare the Legislature’s delegation of emergency powers to the Governor and the Governor’s pandemic orders, rules, and guidelines, including any mask mandate, unconstitutional and unenforceable in New Gloucester.  As previously stated by John Salisbury, the Select Board is intended to be non-partisan and this issue is partisan.  This divisive resolution does not belong on the agenda of the Select Board which has questionable authority to determine the constitutionality of this issue.

It is odd that this resolution is being presented at a time when mask requirements are being reduced outdoors and gathering sizes are being increased in an effort to make life more normal in a safe manner.  But since the Board intends to vote on this resolution which would prohibit any town official from enforcing any pandemic rules, including mask mandates, it is important to examine the effectiveness of mask use.  The resolution attempts to show ineffectiveness by citing a 2015 British journal article which stated that cloth masks allowed penetration by 97% of particles.  I found that article and what the resolution fails to state is that the study compared cloth versus medical mask use.  The study findings were that the medical masks were more effective, allowing 44%, a significantly lower number of particles, to penetrate. The article does not address the fit of the cloth masks.  (For more information see A cluster randomised trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers.)

It makes more sense to look at current research related to Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) and masks.  A 2/10/21 article from the Journal of the American Medical Association Network states: “Compelling data now demonstrate that community mask wearing is an effective nonpharmacologic intervention to reduce the spread of this infection, especially as source control to prevent spread from infected persons, but also as protection to reduce wearers’ exposure to infection.”  Epidemiological evidence in support of mask effectiveness is provided.  The article:  Effectiveness of Mask Wearing to Control Community Spread of SARS-CoV-2 .

I urge you to vote AGAINST this resolution.  And whatever the outcome, please encourage people around you to wear their masks to protect themselves and the people around them.

Nancy Thomas
71B Black Point Rd.

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