Cloth masks may not provide enough protection as omicron surges, report says

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Cloth masks may not provide enough protection as omicron surges, report says
Single-layer cloth masks may not provide adequate protection against the very infectious omicron variant of COVID-19, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

Many infectious disease experts noted people prefer cloth masks because they are more comfortable and fashionable to wear, but these masks can only block larger droplets of COVID-19, not smaller aerosols or particles that can also carry the virus.

The Mayo Clinic is now requiring all patients and visitors to wear surgical masks, N95 or KN95 masks, so if anyone wears a single-layer, homemade cloth mask or bandana, they will be given a medical-grade one to wear over it, the report said.

Surgical masks block the COVID-19 virus through its polypropylene electrostatic charge characteristics, while N95 masks have a tighter mesh of fibers than surgical or cloth masks with also electrostatic charge characteristics, which allows the mask to be most efficient at blocking inhaled and exhaled particles.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, still recommends N95 masks only for health care workers, advising people instead to wear instead cloth masks that have two (or more) layers of fabric that completely cover the face and mouth, fit ‘snugly’ against the sides of the face (without any gaps) that also has a nose wire to prevent air leaking from the top of the mask.

But Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, said, "If everyone is just wearing a cloth mask or just a surgical mask, it won’t make any difference" against the omicron variant.

"If you really want no exposure, you have to wear the right type of mask," Gandhi added. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON OUR TOP STORY

In other developments
- Biden Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tests positive for COVID-19
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez filmed maskless at packed Florida bar
- Thousands protest strict lockdown measures in Amsterdam despite local government ban
- New Jersey's first lady tests positive for COVID-19 after travel to Costa Rica
- Fauci teases new testing recommendation despite shortages

Biden walks on eggshells as approval sinks, far-left loses confidence
Several Democratic strategists think that a progressive will attempt to enter the 2024 primary race as a challenger to President Biden.

"Will there be a progressive challenger? Yes," Jeff Weaver, a former presidential campaign manager for Sen. Bernie Sanders said.

Some believe that Nina Turner or former 2020 presidential candidate Marianne Williamson might challenge President Biden.

"He’s deeply unpopular. He’s old as sh--. He’s largely been ineffective unless we’re counting judges or whatever the hell inside-baseball scorecard we’re using. And I think he’ll probably get demolished in the midterms," Corbin Trent, former communications director for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, and co-founder of No Excuses PAC said of Biden. 

While progressives are criticizing President Biden more and more, from issues like Build Back Better to climate change, some are skeptical that any primary challenger would be successful.

"I think when you look at the AOC and the Bernies, they're really disappointed that the deal was struck by the end of this year. I think they feel like he's sold out. I think that they were really disappointed with any compromise that he made," Lee Carter, a Republican Pollster said. "They're ready to pounce on him." CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

In other developments
- Biden and Harris to visit Capitol, mark anniversary of Jan 6 riot
- Rep. Malliotakis slams Biden for focusing on COVID mandates, not treatments
- Arkansas governor on COVID-19 handling: Biden should give the states more flexibility
- Biden's presidency poses opportunity for Putin in Ukraine: Jack Keane

Authorities not ruling out arson in Colorado wildfire
Authorities in Boulder County, Colorado, have not ruled out arson as a possible cause of the wildfire that destroyed thousands of acres and hundreds of homes.

Police told Fox 31 Denver they are investigating all possible causes of last week's fire, saying if arson or human negligence were to blame that the people responsible would be held accountable.

A total of 991 structures were destroyed by the fire across Superior, Louisville, and unincorporated Boulder County, Colorado, according to a preliminary report the Boulder County Sheriff's Office released Saturday. Another 127 structures were damaged by the fire, which covered more than 6,000 acres as historically high winds helped fuel and spread the devastating blaze.

While the fire was the most destructive in the state's history, no fatalities were reported as a result of the disaster as of Saturday, though authorities did say three people are still missing. 

Deputies with the Boulder County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant on a property Saturday to investigate whether the fire could have been started by humans.

"We are actively investigating a number of tips that came in yesterday and last night from the community," Sheriff Joe Pelle told NBC 9 Saturday. "One of those tips has resulted in us executing a search warrant on a property." CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

In other developments
- Colorado wildfire: 3 people reported missing; cause still being investigated
- Homeowner who lost 'everything' in Colorado fire says faith is more important than possessions
- Nearly 2 dozen people who rang in new year stranded on icy New Mexico tram are rescued
- UC Boulder to start spring semester with remote classes amid fire, COVID-19 concerns
- Colorado fires: Buffaloes coach Mark Smith reveals his family lost 'every material possession


- Jerusalem Post hacked on anniversary of Soleimani drone strike
- Brother of Colorado crash victim slams ‘despicable human’ governor for commuting sentence
- Antonio Brown posts goodbye to Tampa Bay following bizarre departure from team in the middle of game
- Five teenage girls recovered and 30 sex offenders arrested in New Orleans Marshals operation
- What life was like 50 years ago in America, compared to now in 2022
- New NYC Mayor Eric Adams is already getting ripped as 'De Blasio 2.0'

- NASCAR walks back 'Let's Go Brandon' sponsorship approval, Brandon Brown spokesperson says
- Antonio Brown's meltdown may cost him more than spot on the Bucs
- Pricey chicken puts thighs on restaurant menus
- UK makes omicron contingency plans for hospitals, schools
- France demands masks for 6-year-olds
- Travel nightmare just got worse due to COVID staffing shortages, weather


Fox News' Trey Gowdy on Sunday evening discussed the importance of introspection and self-analysis in an age of finger-pointing and blame deflection.

"As we finish one year and head into another I think it’s the right time to do two things," Gowdy said on "Sunday Night in America" "First, be thankful we have another year. Be thankful for the gift of life as many around us have suffered loss. And secondly, use this gift to engage in the hard work of introspection and self-assessment."

"The best countries, the best communities, and the best people look within themselves for areas of potential growth," the host added.

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Fox News First was compiled by Fox News' David Aaro. Thank you for making us your first choice in the morning! We’ll see you in your inbox first thing Tuesday.