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Visalia Unified School Board President John Crabtree questioned the benefit of face masks to combat COVID-19 on Tuesday, claiming they don’t prevent “hundreds of thousands” of annual deaths from tuberculosis.

“There are hundreds of thousands of people who die from tuberculosis every year, and yet we don’t wear masks in order to prevent us from getting tuberculosis,” Crabtree said at the district’s public board meeting.

Crabtree’s comments troubled many Visalia residents watching the virtual meeting from home, according to social media posts. Residents worried about the health implications of Crabtree’s statement while others questioned its veracity.

“The psychological damage that has been done to the kids,” he added, “to deal with that far outweighs the (COVID-19) threat we are seeing … with not getting them back to school.”

The numbers Crabtree shared are misleading. About 542 Americans died from tuberculosis in 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which indicated this data was the most recent.

So far, more than 241,000 Americans have died of COVID-19-related complications since the start of the pandemic in March.

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2 Responses

  1. Michael

    242 deaths in the US from TB in 2019. Where does this nitwit get his information?

    Reply
  2. Martha

    Tuberculosis is currently, sadly, very poorly understood. A century ago 75% of deaths in America were from TB. With the discovery of streptomycin the disease was suddenly treatable. Microorganisms evolve resistance and change metabolism and even structure to adapt to assaults from antibiotics. TB is no exception. Reading the very detail literature from the past and understanding the history of TB one would easily understand the false “facts” presenting this article. There is research today with potential connects to our immune systems response to TB and related Mycobacteria and diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It is inappropriate to make a blanket statement about tuberculosis. I don’t the author of this article has read a single TB research paper. I have read 100’s. Let’s follow the science is a statement tossed around like popcorn. One must first read the science before making these statements.

    Reply

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