Congress Moves For Emergency Containment of Ethics Outbreak

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper to the latest outbreak of ethics and the politically distancing being used by members to control the outbreak over insider trading. Notably, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was adamant on barring businesses owned by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence from benefiting from the stimulus package. Notably absent however was a similar ban for members who have considerable stock or ownership interests in such companies.

Here is the column:

Members of Congress are moving with speed and determination to meet an existential crisis on a bipartisan basis. This is not about the coronavirus. The public has learned, once again, that lawmakers may be profiteering in the stock market. Members from both parties have worked for decades to prevent the closing of this obvious avenue of corruption. I know because I have been advocating for two decades that members of Congress should agree to the mandatory use of blind trusts for any stock ownership.

But members of Congress know voters will soon move on, distracted by the outbreak of a deadly disease or redirecting their political rage against the opposing party. The past incubation period for ethics outbreaks is only a couple of weeks and, with some political distancing, the curve is already flattening out. Lawmakers can rest easy because normalcy is simply one news cycle away and, until then, they are tax sheltering in place.

Several members of Congress have been denounced for dumping stocks before the government took critical measures to deal with the pandemic. Senators Richard Burr, Kelly Loeffler, James Inhofe, and Dianne Feinstein together are responsible for as much as $11 million in recent stock sales. It turns out that many lawmakers become market investment geniuses after they enter Congress. A University of Memphis study found that 75 percent of randomly selected members had made “stock transactions that directly coincided with legislative activity.” A Georgia State University study noted that, from 1993 to 1998, senators beat the stock market by 12 points with their portfolios and outperformed “corporate insiders” by 8 points.

Over the years, I have written about the obvious profiteering by members through insider information, stock manipulation, and sweetheart deals. It is not just a problem for the lawmakers. In 2016, the spouse of an aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bought stock in two pharmaceutical firms, just before Congress passed a bill benefiting the companies. In 2017, the Senate demanded that the Justice Department open an investigation into the drugmaker Mylan. Nine days later there was a $465 million settlement with the company. Meanwhile, during that brief period, an aide to Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin sold tens of thousands of dollars of Mylan stock. An investigation by Politico revealed numerous examples of such suspicious trades by House and Senate staffers of both parties.

Whenever a member of Congress is caught in such a scandal, Washington immediately turns to its timely and proven emergency plan and protocol. First, all lawmakers will express shock and dismay. Second, the affected members call for ethics investigations of themselves. Third, Washington waits for the next shiny object to dangle before voters. Why not? We fall for the same $5 genuine gold watch scam over and over again. The two political parties have us so wired into hating the other side that we still refuse to accept that both parties are equally craven and corrupt.

Right on cue, Washington has moved gingerly through phases one and two of its emergency contingency plan. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and members like Burr have called for ethics investigations. This, after all, is what the ethics rules of Congress are really designed for. They give cover to the alleged corrupt practices of members. What happened here is perfectly legal and, even more troubling, ethical under the rules of Congress. There is no requirement of a blind trust by members.

Under a blind trust, the trustees and beneficiaries generally communicate only to discuss asset distributions, to discuss general investment goals or to disclose summary trust information required for tax purposes. A blind trust is a mandatory requirement which lawmakers in neither party want. Accordingly, when scandals arise, members pass legislation named for public consumption, like the laughable Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act which, notably, does not stop members from trading on congressional knowledge. The law, also known as the Stock Act, applies the same insider trading rules to members and staff that are applied to company executives. While fines are possible, they are unlikely.

Insider trading cases are hard for prosecutors to make against members of Congress because the law was designed to punish corporate officials who trade stocks by using proprietary information. Members of Congress do not deal with proprietary information held by company executives and, even with the broader definitions applied by the courts, it would be very difficult to use the legal language to fit legislative profiteering.

Moreover, legislative information usually holds some public controversy component that can be pointed to as the reason for a trade. Indeed, Burr has claimed that his decision was based on public information, a defense that would be challenging to defeat given the level of media attention and the varying reports that were being aired. While a shareholder would face alleged securities fraud in a civil action, Burr can legitimately claim that his action to sell simply showed better instincts than information.

The Stock Act has worked as members intended, however, as the public eventually moves on. One year after its passage, Congress then quietly amended the law to reduce disclosure requirements. The leadership on Capitol Hill passed the bill in “30 seconds” while most members were out of town to further reduce accountability. President Obama held a massive ceremony to sign the original bill, but his signing of the amendments one year later resulted in just a single sentence acknowledgement.

This is just one of the many federal loopholes that have allowed members of Congress to grow rich in public service. This includes the ability of the children and spouses of our elected officials to receive windfall contracts and undeserved positions from companies to buy influence, while elected officials can insist there is nothing illegal about such deals. This is how the rules are written. They facilitate, not frustrate, special dealing.

As so many of our leaders in Congress have declared, this crisis will pass. The ethics investigations will drag on, and public attention will shift back to political rage. Voters will soon be denouncing the opposing party with the same reliable and willful blindness to the transgressions in their own party. For now, both Republicans and Democrats are remaining steadfast and assuring their respective voters to keep calm and carry on.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

173 thoughts on “Congress Moves For Emergency Containment of Ethics Outbreak”

  1. OT: One of the reasons why both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump were hated by both the right and the left was our leadership’s lack of concern as to where taxpayer money went. We are not talking about money spent to benefit the citizens whether it be healthcare or something else. We are talking about the money that is wasted and ends up supporting our leaders and their friends whether it be in Washington or in local government. He points out specific examples on both sides of the aisle and what needs to be done. If one goes to his website one can find the salaries and recognize that we the public have been had.

    https://www.openthebooks.com/hillsdale-college-the-depth-of-the-swamp-by-open-the-books-ceo-adam-andrzejewski/

  2. Containment of Ethics? what a joke. Start off with Pelosi and Schumer et. al. and the RINOs you might have a case of being serioius. Until then it’s just Bullshevikism and PCrap.

  3. Will the communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats) finally, this time, be found to have committed treason, as defined by the Constitution, if a plot to conspire with their Chinese Commander-in-China to effect a pandemic as a last ditch effort to remove President Trump from office is revealed?

    It would seem irrefutable that they would have been, “…adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort…” in a time of war, which would certainly have been constituted by what appears to have been a coronavirus bio-weapon attack, under the cloak of an ostensibly spontaneous “wet market” outbreak.

    Unable to stomach the prospect of a second Trump term, it may be that the communists went a bridge too far this time.

  4. Trump Signs Record Stimulus..

    Then Hints He Will Sabotage Inspector General Oversight

    President Trump on Friday took a step to immediately try to curb oversight provisions in Congress’ $2 trillion coronavirus spending package, seeking to assert presidential authority over a new inspector general’s office.

    The move could presage a major battle between the White House and Capitol Hill as the Trump administration moves to implement the new law.

    In a White House signing statement released Friday evening, Trump called “unreasonable” the law’s mandate that a new Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery notify Congress immediately if the White House doesn’t cooperate with an audit or investigation. The new inspector general is supposed to monitor how the Treasury Department extends loans and loan guarantees to businesses, among other things.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/27/trump-coronavirus-inspector-general/

  5. https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/county-county-breakdown-positive-cases

    New York State County by County Breakdown of Positive Cases

    LAST UPDATE: MARCH 27, 2020 | 2:19PM

    County Positive Cases
    Albany 187
    Allegany 2
    Broome 18
    Cayuga 2
    Chautauqua 1
    Chemung 11
    Chenango 4
    Clinton 11
    Columbia 20
    Cortland 4
    Delaware 8
    Dutchess 225
    Erie 219
    Essex 4
    Franklin 2
    Fulton 1
    Genesee 6
    Greene 6
    Hamilton 2
    Herkimer 9
    Jefferson 3
    Livingston 3
    Madison 17
    Monroe 160
    Montgomery 5
    Nassau 4,657
    Niagara 23
    New York City 25,398
    Oneida 13
    Onondaga 115
    Ontario 14
    Orange 910
    Orleans 3
    Oswego 4
    Otsego 5
    Putnam 111
    Rensselaer 35
    Rockland 1,457
    Saratoga 82
    Schenectady 66
    Schoharie 3
    St. Lawrence 3
    Steuben 12
    Suffolk 3,385
    Sullivan 64
    Tioga 2
    Tompkins 26
    Ulster 98
    Warren 8
    Washington 6
    Wayne 11
    Westchester 7,187
    Wyoming 7
    Total Number of Positive Cases 44,635

  6. “Dr. Fauci Goes Deep: ‘We’re in uncharted waters’”

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2020/mar/27/coronavirus-us-live-news-trump-stimulus-vote-house-thomas-massie-latest-updates

    ‘Authority. Experience. The ability to communicate.

    Dr. Anthony Fauci has become a trusted figure for many Americans overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Today, at the end of another contentious and partially accurate White House coronavirus briefing reporter asked Fauci to take a step back and address a more philosophical question. In his years of responding to serious epidemics, had he experienced anything like the past month in the United States?

    While the HIV/AIDS epidemic was incredibly devastating, the suffering and deaths unfolded more slowly than what people around the world are experiencing now, Fauci said.

    “What we’re seeing now, in actual real time, is something that’s unprecedented. This is something we have never seen before, at least in our generation. They’ve seen maybe something like this 100 years ago.”

    “We’re really being challenged to not only learn in real time, to be able to respond in a way that’s helpful an effective, we’re also in uncharted waters. That is the thing that I find different…”

    “It isn’t as if we have an example of how to do it.”’

    1. Beware those who use COVID-19 to score political arguments.

      Dr Debirah Birx cautions against inaccurate models predicting significant coronavirus spread

      White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx cautioned Thursday against models that predict alarming increases in coronavirus infections and deaths in the U.S.

      Birx, speaking at a White House press briefing, singled out a recent study on the United Kingdom that originally predicted 500,000 people would die from the virus and has since been revised down to predict 20,000 deaths in the U.K. She said the data the government has collected does not show that 20 percent of the U.S. population would be infected with COVID-19, cautioning against predictions that say so.

      “When people start talking about 20 percent of a population getting infected, it is very scary but we don’t have data that matches that based on the experience,” Birx said.

      “There’s no … reality on the ground where we can see that 60 to 70 percent of Americans are going to get infected in the next eight to 12 weeks,” Birx later continued.

      Birx, an HIV/AIDS expert from the State Department who was brought on to coordinate the federal government’s response to the coronavirus, noted that 19 of the 50 U.S. states are showing a persistently low level of coronavirus cases despite reporting early infections. These 19 states each have fewer than 200 cases, Birx said, and are still working to actively contain the virus rather than mitigate its spread.

      “That’s almost 40 percent of the country with extraordinarily low numbers and they are testing,” Birx said.

      At the same time, Birx continued to raise concerns about the New York metro area, which has become the epicenter of coronavirus cases and accounts for more than 50 percent of all new cases being reported

      https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/489774-birx-cautions-against-inaccurate-models-predicting-signficant-coronavirus

      1. I suggest you begin licking doorknobs in New York. In other words, put your mouth where your mouth is.”

        This is to “I have a ‘hannity was here’ tattoo across my lower back” estie.

  7. Using New York statistics and checking how many hospital beds we have, like New York we will run out in about 3 weeks, maybe less.
    King County is already planning on tent hospitals for Seattle, etc.

    King Donald the Unready just can’t fathom it.

    — David B Benson

  8. From remarks by NY Governor Cuomo, I gather that the apex of COVID-19 cases is likely to be about April 18th, after Easter. Note that is just the peak. After that there are many more weeks to go.

    Ignore King Donald the Unready. 😫

  9. The Coronavirus package received bipartisan support so I suppose the Republicans took part in this political screwing As the most morally bankrupt President in American history Trump can always avail himself to bankruptcy protection

  10. From the worldometer data, confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Ccoronavirus infection continue to double about every 2.5 days in the USA. With no hint of a slow down, the pronouncements by King Donald the Unready are just ignorable hot air.
    Pay attention to the epidemiologists.

    — David B Benson

    1. David, Donald is ready, but not for any constructive role. His handlers in Moscow would like Trump to keep confusing America with erroneous statements and stupid Culture War fights. Plus personal grievances; they always come first.

  11. We ordinarily ignore the blathering of those who can’t even be bothered to use a pseudonym.

    — David B Benson, who is 79 years of age.

  12. what an immature comment, please use this column for more cerebral commentary, please, and keep your partisan thoughts to yourself. thank you

  13. Watching the worldometer coronavirus statistics for the USA, I see no chance of being thru this by Easter.

    King Donald the Unready is wrong once again and half of Americans are fools to opine that he is doing well.

    — David B Benson

    1. Agreed, David. What’s unique here in the realm of Trumpism is that his supporters tend to discount the realities of Covid 19. And the true effects are being felt in the cities right now, on the coasts, New Orleans, Detroit…i.e. blue territories.

      Next up is Florida though. And a small hospital in Georgia has been overrun this past week…things are heading into the red and it will be hard to deny personal experience. Never before has the country been so polarized as to have its beliefs about a true pandemic governed by political affiliation. Interesting times.

      1. Never before has the country been so polarized as to have its beliefs about a true pandemic governed by political affiliation. Interesting times.

        If you stopped projecting, it would be far less interesting. You could also provide the evidence that you believe proves Trump supporters discount the virus and they do so for political reasons.

        1. Let’s take a look at footage of what Trump’s said in public these past weeks and begin there shall we? Apply it to even the comments on this blog. We could come up with some solid points to discuss around it couldn’t we?

                  1. That what you think you did? 🙄 You’re Monday morning quarterbacking a President you don’t support, dealing with a crisis that has never been war-gamed. That’s as low-hanging as fruit can get. And all you could find is that.

                    If you fancy yourself to know better than President Trump, then tell us what he should do tomorrow, not yesterday. Tell us how he should wield the DPA. Tell us what resources he’ll be working with next week, not what he didn’t have last week.

                    Don’t worry though, you have a handful of your ilk that have done no better.

                    1. Sure Olly, he should start leading America and drop the lies, sunshine pumping, hitting his supposed enemies, and the constant self praise. He should be sober, realistic, and provide hope and confidence in our eventual success without lying about what the likely scenario is, He should use the DPA to ramp up US production – quietly and without the public attempts at shaming – and take the lead in allocating these supplies based on need as most of the governors have requested. He should also try to reestablish our international role, especially with our allies, but with all in a time of world wide crisis, and lead. The American voters will recognize real leadership and reward him for it. His approval numbers on this are barely positive at a time when most want someone to take control, and way below everyone else on the podium he uses now for the same old same old ego trip.

                    2. 😀 wow, I appreciate how you are willing to share your feelings, but at least begin by using the standard introduction: Hi, I’m book and I’ve got TDS. That would be more respectable.

                1. Olly, note, the inability to produce a singular argument. He can’t do it because he knows he will be knocked down again and again. He doesn’t take into account time, context etc. Trump’s call on the number of deaths will be infinitely closer than any expert who predicted 13 million.

                  It seems critical thinking is absent in some people.

                    1. I don’t designate expertise and you apparently don’t read, much like your twin. The most hillarious experts are designated by the left. We have had some wild claims made by experts but Trump has been rather measured as his expertise is in running businesses rather than science. He has proven his abilities many times over.

                    2. “I don’t designate expertise”

                      But you tried to and were caught lying again.

                    3. Anonymous – JT predicted the Chicago Bears would win their division, which he does ever year. I appreciate his expertise, however it will be windless day in Chicago before that happens.

            1. Olly, Alias “Paulie” attacks Trump because much of what Trump says is generalized and optimistic. When he said a year for a vaccine I think Paulie was one of the ones that screamed. The other day Fauci said 1 year to 1.5 years. Both said maybe more.

              The expert from the UK said 2 million Britons would die and now he has revised his thinking. Stanford experts are looking at around 20,000. These no nothings expect Trump to be very exacting when bright minds have predicted 500 deaths to 5% of the population or about 17 million.

              Trump banned Chinese travellers and reduced our death rate tremendously. Where was Paulie initially? Where was the left? Where was Biden. All of them levelling charges of racism and xenophobia. So much for their ability to act in a crisisThe future potential Democratic nominee to replace Biden if Biden cannot perform (good liklihood) could be Mario Cuomo who when told he lacked 16, 000 ventillators did nothing. Then he tried to blame Trump for not sending ventillators when they were already there. The left is very screwed up.

              Trump is a doer. Paulie sockpuppet is a talker who has been wrong almost every step of the way.

              1. Allan,
                They’re wired to believe their feelings are enough to establish truth. My 11 yr old even knows that’s a weak way to go about life.

                    1. Olly, sometimes being blunt has its merits. I wouldn’t want anyone to get the idea that they were anything but stupid.

                    2. I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.

                      Not my style. Go for it.

                    3. Olly, I never worried about getting dirty. That is why I have a shower and soap.

                      But, let me make one thing clear. I don’t call them stupid because they necessarily have the low IQ they sound like they have. I would never call a slow or uneducated person stupid. That term is reserved for vile, mendacious and hateful individuals that act stupid because of the type of people they have become.

                    4. Olly, I would never want to dictate anothers actions and certainly wouldn’t want to dictate them to you. Nor do I expect anyone to follow suit. We each have our own ways. I’ve dealt with this hateful stupidity and find that calling it what it is is the best way for me. I’ve seen hateful stupidity kill too many.

                  1. Allan says:March 28, 2020 at 8:17 PM

                    “Olly, sometimes being blunt has its merits. I wouldn’t want anyone to get the idea that they were anything but stupid.”

                    =======

                    LOL

                    As if Allan’s opinion matters.

                  2. Blunt Allan?

                    Okay. You’re a mentally unbalanced cyber stalker. I’d say right wing but I think you misunderstand the rhetoric you’re seeking to impress people by parroting. It’s painful watching you try to impress the people on this site. You just plain take L’s on every ‘discussion’ you enter into and are wildly gullible to someone like Trump who will abuse you in trying to get you to parrot his message, especially during a time when he’s failing so badly at being a leader. Trump would’ve fired Fauci last week if he’d been able to do business as usual Trump style and he’s clearly been overruled from within.Not good times in Trump land. And it must be hard having to peddle so hard to try to make it look like anything approaching normal.

                    I actually don’t think it’s worth conversing with you on any level anymore because it’s just not right to pile on a bitter old guy. It’s actually kind of a sympathetic situation. I urge you to look within and ask yourself what drives your anger. There’s obviously deep unhappiness going on and it seems this blog brings the worst out in your character. It may even be kind of cruel to not point that out.

                    Go be happy, man. Have a life free of the confines of this blog. Seriously. Wishing you the best. Life is short man, enjoy the time you have left.

                    1. Alias Paulie, you are upset because you think your mouth is big enough to defeat rational thought. It isn’t and that has been proven. If you feel stalked stay away and don’t keep coming back and claiming that you have been mishandled. Alternatively, keep adopting new aliases at regular intervals. You are a sissy and you know it.

          1. He said he and his administration and the governors who showed appreciation to him are all “really great” and that no one has ever seen such terrific success before and that we’ll soon be over this.

            Oh yeah, the news is all fake except for that Doocy guy, Hannity, OAN, and The Epoch Times.

  14. An American owned company, Trump Enterprises, is excluded from the benefits of the 2T rescue package. Do the 2400 Chinese investor owned American companies, i.e., GE Appliances, Louisvile (Haeir) or Chinese owned AMC theaters get loans and grants?

    1. Do the 2400 Chinese investor owned American companies, i.e., GE Appliances, Louisvile (Haeir) or Chinese owned AMC theaters get loans and grants
      _________________________________________________________

      SCOTUS said that those companies can spend unlimited amounts of money to fund politicians so what do you expect politicians to do in return?

  15. Professor Turley incomprehensibly focuses on the inane while the Obama Coup D’etat in America persists without prosecution (John Durham is John Huber’s “fake” doppelganger).

    The prime co-conspirators in the Coup have allied with their global communist leader, President Xi of China, to release a mild virus and promote a massive “panic” over a glorified common cold, “Wuhan Flu,” a “fake” pandemic, which causes only 2% of the deaths caused by the usual, common annual flu.

    The Obama Coup co-conspirators tried everything from the Trump-Russia Dossier, Mueller Investigation, Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen and Christine Ballsey Ford to Congressional impeachment and they haven’t been able to stop President Trump.

    Now, facing an historic landslide Trump victory in November, the communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats) have rolled out a colossal, contrived, full blown “fake” panic over the common cold. Whipping up hysteria and incoherence is the tool of the communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats) as they create a common “enemy” for the masses to coalesce and rally against.

    Salivating for the ultimate and final imposition of communism globally, Rahm Emanuel admonishes agaisnt allowing a crisis to go to waste.
    ______________

    “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

    – Rahm Emanuel
    ______________

    His benefactors, Bill and Hillary Clinton, in conjunction with their malleable and affordable, ensconced affirmative action figurehead, Barack Obama, take full advantage of the “serious crisis” and order up a most diabolical scheme to rid America and the world of a formidable, looming, existential threat. No, not the “fake” pandemic, but President Donald Trump.

    If America decides to proportionally retaliate, WWIII will have been initiated by China’s “first strike,” its deployment of “Wuhan Flu,” in conjunction with its communist allies in America.

    Who’d a thunk it?

    Who would have ever imagined that a eminently successful, triumphant, increasingly popular and apparently invincible Commander-In-Chief and President would be shrewdly toppled by the “common cold?”

    1. I approve your comment above. Have thought that all along. Why wouldn’t China want a more tolerant and malleable President in the White House and they already have a connection through Hunter. All it took was a “GO AHEAD” when the impeachment didn’t work out the way Pelosi and Schumer wanted.

      1. Haha. As if. Thanks for checking in with today’s wacky wingnut nonsense from the deranged parts of the interwebs.

        This is to “but, but, everybody knows that Kissinger, H.W. Bush, and the Queen of England were on the Trilateral Commission!” bammie

      2. ““Just finished a very good conversation with President Xi of China. Discussed in great detail the CoronaVirus that is ravaging large parts of our Planet,” Trump tweeted Friday. “China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!”

    2. the communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats) have rolled out a colossal, contrived, full blown “fake” panic over the common cold.
      ___________________________________________________________
      Ha Ha Ha
      let’s suppose that were true…
      Do you really think they are going to be able to keep the people fooled for 6 more months?

      If what you say is true what is going to happen is that in about a month from now everybody will realize the whole thing is just another giant nothing burger. And like all the other giant nothing burgers that we have been told were “coup attempts” it will backfire and end up helping Trump enormously.

      But don’t worry whether this is another nothing burger or not the Deep State Swamp will make sure Trump gets reelected. Look at who will be running against Trump in November. What more proof do you need that the Deep State Swamp wants Trump to be reelected?

    3. Professor Turley incomprehensibly focuses on the inane while the Obama Coup D’etat in America persists without prosecution
      _______________________________________________________

      Ha ha ha you are a hysterically funny.
      Just because Monsieur Trump proclaims on twitter there is an Obama coup D’etat does not mean it exists.

      Monsieur Obama is very pleased with the magnificent Trump tax cut he received and is certainly not going to do anything that would put an end to it.

  16. anybody who is bored and home and wants to argue about trivial things on the internet, may wish to consider sewing up some masks. use of basic masks can help slow the spread of the pandemic.

    1. Mr. Kurtz- if you send me a sewing machine, I’ll get started, right away. I think a lot of ppl today don’t own sewing machines. It’s a lost art.

      1. Some fabric glues are better than a sewing machine. Also an HVAC hepa filter or vacuum bag could be better as a layer than just fabrics. For personal use of course.

    2. use of basic masks can help slow the spread of the pandemic

      Actually, no, you are wrong. Only an N95 Mask might be helpful for preventing viral transmission but under certain conditions. Wearing Non-N95 masks are worthless. Cloth masks are even worse on varied levels. Additionally, N95 Masks are considered a medical device and are regulated by the FDA. An everyday paper, disposable surgical mask is not an N95 mask. People wearing masks on the street do so for psychological reasons thinking it prevents viral transmission. They do not.

      Stop fear-mongering, Kurtz.

      A cluster randomised trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers

      The physical properties of a cloth mask, reuse, the frequency and effectiveness of cleaning, and increased moisture retention, may potentially increase the infection risk for HCWs. The virus may survive on the surface of the facemasks,29 and modelling studies have quantified the contamination levels of masks.30 Self-contamination through repeated use and improper doffing is possible. For example, a contaminated cloth mask may transfer pathogen from the mask to the bare hands of the wearer. We also showed that filtration was extremely poor (almost 0%) for the cloth masks. Observations during SARS suggested double-masking and other practices increased the risk of infection because of moisture, liquid diffusion and pathogen retention.31 These effects may be associated with cloth masks.

      https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/4/e006577

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