Jul 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Former Trump official Tom Bossert: face masks “are not enough”

Thomas Bossert.
Former Homeland Security adviser Thomas Bossert. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Former President Trump Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert sounded the alarm on the rapid spike in the spread of the coronavirus in a series of tweets Sunday, saying that "Masks are important, but not enough."

Why it matters: It's a different tone than much of the Trump administration, as cases are spiking in a number of states around the country. Trump baselessly claimed during his Independence Day remarks that 99% of coronavirus cases "are totally harmless."

What he's saying: Bossert shared data on the rising number of new cases in some states...

  • "TX: Cases as of 7/4 (191.8K); cases as of 6/20 (107.7K). Increase of 84K over 2 weeks. Assuming case ascertainment of 20%, true number of cases = 416K. Population of TX = 29M, so roughly 1.4% of population is currently infectious."
  • "AZ: Cases as of 7/4 (94.6K); cases as of 6/20 (49.8K). Increase of 44.8K over 2 weeks. Assuming case ascertainment of 20%, true number of cases = 220K. Population of AZ = 7.3M, so roughly 3% of population is currently infectious."
  • "CA: Cases as of 7/4 (254.7K); cases as of 6/20 (169.3K). Increase of 85.4K over 2 weeks. Assuming case ascertainment of 20%, true number of cases = 427K. Population of CA = 40M, so roughly 1% of population is currently infectious."
  • "GA: Cases as of 7/4 (93.3K); cases as of 6/20 (63.8K). Increase of 30K over 2 weeks. Assuming case ascertainment of 20%, true number of cases = 150K. Population of GA = 10.6M, so roughly 1.4% of population is currently infectious."

The bottom line: He then shared a study by the Imperial College of London that suggests that wearing masks should be accompanied by other preventative measures to stop the spread of the virus. "Masks are important, but not enough," he wrote.

  • "What are the hundreds of thousands of infectious people in these states doing right now? Isolating? Are their family members quarantining themselves? How many days does it take for them to notify people with whom they have been in close contact? Are they even notifying others?"
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