What We’re Reading: COVID-19 Masking Updates; Shkreli Barred From Drug Industry; More COVID-19 Variants Likely

Cloth masks are not as effective at curbing the spread of COVID-19 as surgical masks; Martin Shkreli is banned from the pharmaceutical industry; as infections increase, more COVID-19 variants are likely.

CDC: Cloth Masks Not as Effective as Medical Grade Coverings

In an update to its masking recommendations, the CDC conceded that cloth masks do not offer as much protection from COVID-19 compared with surgical masks or N95 respirators, The New York Times reports. However, the agency did not go so far as to recommend respirators for ordinary citizens and stated the more protective masks can be considered in situations where greater protection is needed or desired. When used correctly, N95 masks can filter out 95% of all airborne particles.

Martin Shkreli Is Banned From the Pharmaceutical Industry

A federal judge ruled Martin Shkreli must return the $64 million in profits he made by hiking up the price of the life-saving drug Daraprim and monopolizing the market, according to the Associated Press. Shkreli, the former CEO of Vyera Pharmaceuticals LLC, has also been barred from the pharmaceutical industry for life. In 2015, Shkreli’s company raised the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill. The treatment is used for a rare parasitic disease that can affect pregnant women and patients with AIDS.

Risk of New COVID-19 Variants Increases Alongside Infections

Scientists are warning that Omicron won’t be the last variant of COVID-19 to worry the world, as every infection is a new chance for the virus to mutate, the Associated Press reports. As it’s unknown what future variants may look like, experts cautioned there is no guarantee that they will be more mild than Omicron or that existing vaccines will be effective against them. Increasing vaccination rates now, while the shots are still effective, can help reduce the overall number of infections and reduce the virus’ chance of mutation.