Trump falsely cites CDC data on mask-wearing, catching COVID-19

Trump, during a town hall with NBC News Thursday, said that “just the other day, they came out with a statement that 85% of the people that wear masks, catch it.”

Moderator Savannah Guthrie immediately pushed back.

“They didn’t say that,” Guthrie said. “I know that study.”

“Well, that’s what I heard. And that’s what I saw,” a defiant Trump replied.

The president made the same erroneous claim during a rally in Greenville, North Carolina, earlier in the day.

“Look at all the masks. You know, they keep saying, ‘Nobody wears a mask, wear the mask.’ Although then, they come out with things today. Did you see CDC? That 85% of the people wearing a mask catch it, OK?” Trump told the packed audience.

And a Thursday morning interview with Fox News Trump said, “Then you see CDC comes out with a statement that 85% of the people wearing masks catch it,” asking, “What’s that all about?”

It found that of 154 symptomatic people who had tested positive, 85% said they had worn a mask either “always” or “often” over the 14 days prior to the onset of their illness — where Trump’s number came from. It also found that of the remaining 160 people in the study who reported symptoms but had tested negative, 88.7% said they had worn a mask either “always” or “often.”

After the study gained attention on social media this week with users raising questions on the effectiveness of wearing a mask, the CDC tweeted on Wednesday afternoon that “the interpretation that more mask-wearers are getting infected compared to non-mask wearers is incorrect.”

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