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VERIFY: Viral post shows CDC notice saying cloth masks 'do not filter anything'

There is a post circulating on social media that claims the CDC has a notice warning about cloth facemasks.

WASHINGTON — There is a lot of misinformation going around about wearing cloth face masks. One recent post has been shared thousands of times on social media. The post looks like a notice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The last paragraph in the alleged CDC notice claims cloth masks “Do not filter anything.” It goes on to claim cloth masks can even be dangerous by trapping carbon dioxide inside them.


Did the CDC put a notice saying cloth masks are harmful?


The CDC and Christopher Sulmonte, an expert from Johns Hopkins Biocontainment Unit.

What we found:

No, CDC did not put out a notice saying cloth masks don’t work. The notice is bogus. It was never sent. 

A spokesperson for the CDC told our Verify Team, “The agency does not issue guidance in a general public notice.”

And regarding cloth masks, “Cloth facemasks do reduce the spread of COVID-19," the CDC said.

As far as the claim masks are harmful because they get carbon dioxide trapped in them this is also untrue.

“There is no evidence to suggest any sort of carbon dioxide toxicity by wearing a cloth mask for the general public,” our expert Christopher Sulmonte said. “You need to be wearing a tight fit, tight circulation mask for a long period of time for this to be something to come into consideration, which the vast majority of people in the general public are just not going to experience."

So, we can verify the claims are false. The CDC never issued a notice warning that face masks do nothing. Both sources said that, in any event, cloth masks are not harmful and do help slow the spread of COVID-19.

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