Tucker Carlson said mask-wearing has 'no basis of any kind in science,' reversing an earlier position that they are obviously effective
- Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night questioned safety measures being used in some schools to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
- He said: "Many schools that do plan to reopen will do so under a series of restrictions that have no basis of any kind in science. It's kind of a bizarre health theater. Students will be kept six feet apart, everyone will have to wear a mask, class sizes will be limited..."
- Earlier in the pandemic Carlson was telling viewers masks are effective, remarking on March 30: "Of course, masks work. Everyone knows that."
- Carlson's U-turn comes as President Trump said he would pressurize states to reopen schools despite increasing coronavirus infections.
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Fox News host Tucker Carlson has claimed, contrary to multiple scientific studies, that there is no scientific evidence to support wearing masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
In the Tuesday night edition of his show, Carlson called for schools to reopen despite the increasing rate of coronavirus infections in the US.
He accused Democrats and teaching unions who question the reopening of harming the children by depriving them of education.
"There is only one way for educators to keep their students safe right now and that is to teach them — in person — by reopening schools," he said in his opening monologue. "Distance learning is not learning. This has been studied and we know it."
—Media Matters (@mmfa) July 8, 2020
The host went on to question the safety measures some schools are introducing to stop infections spreading.
"Many schools that do plan to reopen will do so under a series of restrictions that have no basis of any kind in science. It's kind of a bizarre health theater. Students will be kept six feet apart, everyone will have to wear a mask, class sizes will be limited," Carlson said.
Carlson is one of Trump's closest media allies, and earlier in the pandemic was credited for helping persuade the president to take it more seriously.
The effectiveness of masks and measures such as social distancing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus is attested to by multiple scientific studies.
In an explainer published by the University of California in June, researchers presented the mounting evidence in favor of mask-wearing. Several organisations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have abandoned their previous hesitancy and now recommend them.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls the use of masks "a critical preventive measure."
The use of masks and other protective measures in schools is being decided by state and school district authorities, the CDC says on its website, which recommends that schools "teach and reinforce use of cloth face coverings."
The CDC notes though that "based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults."
Researchers told the healthcare site Stat News in June that there is some evidence children are less likely to spread the illness, but that data was needed to understand the situation.
Critics pointed out that recently Carlson was sending a very different message to his viewers.
On March 30, Carlson said: "Of course, masks work. Everyone knows that. Dozens of research papers have proved it. In South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, the rest of Asia — where coronavirus has been kept under control — masks were key."
Carlson's change of position came as President Donald Donald Trump on Tuesday said that he would pressure governors to reopen schools when the term starts again in fall, despite coronavirus cases continuing to increase.
"Everybody wants it. The moms want it, the dads want it, the kids want it. It's time to do it," said Trump.
Carlson echoed Trump in his monologue Tuesday, accusing Democrats of a plot to politically benefit from school closures.
The use of masks has become the center of a partisan battle, with the president in his push to reopen the US economy questioning scientific measures to control the virus, and largely refusing to wear a mask. Democrats mostly back the wearing of masks.
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