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Fact check: Trump falsely claims that CDC found that 85% of people who wear masks get the coronavirus

October 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

President Donald Trump made a dramatic claim about Covid-19 in an interview, at a campaign rally and in his televised town hall on NBC Thursday night.

All three times, Trump suggested that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had found that 85% of people who wear masks catch the virus.

"CDC comes out with a statement that 85% of the people wearing masks catch it," Trump said on Fox Business in the morning.

"Then they come out with things today, did you see CDC -- that 85% of the people wearing the mask catch it?" he said at a rally in North Carolina in the afternoon.

The CDC study, which was released in September, did not say that 85% of all people who wear masks get infected with the coronavirus.

In fact, it did not even attempt to figure out what percentage of people who wear a mask get infected with the coronavirus.

The CDC study did not examine what percentage of these tens of millions of mask-wearers have been infected with the virus.

Of the 160 people who had tested negative, conversely, a total of 88. 7% said they had worn a mask either "always" (74. 2%) or "often" (14. 5%).

So reported mask-wearing was not statistically different among people who tested negative than among people who tested positive.

Trump was suggesting that the CDC found that 85% of all people who wear masks get the coronavirus.

"The data suggest that among a group of patients who are already showing symptoms that prompted them to get testing for the virus, there was no statistical evidence of a difference in mask wearing behavior between those who tested positive and those who tested negative," Lindsell said in an email.

"This is very different from the question of whether wearing masks prevents you becoming infected with the virus, and it is also different to the question of how many or what percentage of people who wear masks contract the virus.

But when CNN asked for comment, the CDC emphasized that even people who reported "always" having worn a mask may not have actually done so all of the time.

Problem 3: Masks are primarily intended to protect other people, not the person wearing the mask.

There is scientific evidence that masks provide protection to the people who wear them.

Haynes said, "CDC guidance on masks has clearly stated that wearing a mask is intended to protect other people in case the mask wearer is infected. "

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