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Tipsheet

CNN Medical Analyst Blasted On Twitter After Reversal On COVID Mandates

Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst and the former head of Planned Parenthood, is facing loads of backlash on social media for her recent calls to roll back Covid-19 restrictions. And she's getting it from both sides.

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As Julio reported yesterday, Wen told CNN anchor John Berman that she supports off-ramps to mask mandates, particularly in schools, because "the science has changed."

"We know that vaccines protect very well against Omicron, which is the dominant variant," Wen said Monday. "Everyone 5 and older have widespread access to vaccines and we also know about one-way masking. The idea that even if other people around you are not wearing masks, if you wear a high-quality mask, that also protects you, the wearer, too ... I don’t think anyone really is saying, no one should ever wear masks, but rather that the responsibility should shift from a government mandate imposed from the state or local district of the school, rather it should shift to an individual responsibility by the family who can still decide that their child can wear a mask if needed."

She also tweeted a link to an op-ed written by three doctors in The Washington Post calling for an end to school masking requirements

Drs. Shira Doron, Westyn Branch-Elliman and Elissa Perkins write:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance on masks this past week, stating that respirators, such as N95s, are more protective than surgical masks, which in turn protect better than cloth masks. These updates are appropriate from a scientific standpoint. They also offer a pathway to compromise in the place where masking policies are most hotly debated: schools.

Respirators and other high-quality masks are highly effective at protecting their wearers, regardless of what people around them are doing. That makes the old mantra “my mask protects you and your mask protects me” obsolete. As a result, schools can finally safely make masks optional for students and staff.

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Wen has since defined her position as a middle-ground between two "extremes" on Covid restrictions:

"Times have changed," Wen, who in December admitted that cloth masks were little more than "facial decorations," wrote in a Tuesday-published op-ed. "Cases are falling rapidly. Vaccines are widely available for everyone 5 and older, and they work: People vaccinated and boosted are 97 times less likely to die of covid-19 compared with the unvaccinated. Research also shows that respirator masks (N95, KN95 or KF94) are highly effective at protecting wearers, even if others around them are unmasked."

Sure, Wen's position sounds reasonable now, and let's hold her to it if she ever calls for universal forced masking ever again. After all, if one-way masking works and N95s are readily available, there is no logical or scientific need to force others to mask, ever. However, Team Reality proponents were quick to remind the CNN medical analyst that she once called for draconian measures for the unvaccinated, including being forced to stay at home.

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On the other hand, Wen's former ideological allies also jumped on the critic bandwagon, accusing the doctor of literally killing grandma, or something:

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Wen appears to be ready to move on. Despite her past awfulness on the issue, good for her. However, the media-generated hysterics over Covid have broken so many others on the left seemingly beyond repair.

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