Facts are under assault in 2020.

We can't fight back misinformation about the election and COVID-19 without you. Support trusted, factual information with a tax deductible contribution to PolitiFact

More Info

I would like to contribute

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke July 7, 2020

No, New York state hospitals didn’t report thousands of lung infections caused by face masks

If Your Time is short

  • New York hospitals didn’t report this. 
     
  • There’s no evidence wearing a face mask properly causes fungal lung infections. 
 

"You can’t make this up," begins a Facebook post sharing what would be a shocking claim — if it were true. "NYS hospitals reporting thousands of fungus lung infections due to wearing a mask!!"

The June 30 post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

We found no evidence to support its claim. 

"Sounds like you can, in fact, make it up," one account commented on the Facebook post. 

Barbara Osborn, a spokesperson for Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in New York state, told PolitiFact that she checked out the Facebook post’s claim with multiple infectious-disease doctors "and they have not heard of this or are aware of this." 

Featured Fact-check

Michael Pauley, a spokesperson for the Healthcare Association of New York State, said, "We have heard nothing to this effect from our member hospitals."

And Brian Conway, a spokesperson for the Greater New York Hospital Association, told us he asked two colleagues "who would be the most likely to have heard this" and said they haven’t heard anything about it. 

In a recent fact-check debunking a claim that general use of face masks can cause fungal and bacterial pneumonia, the Associated Press quoted Davidson Hamer, an infectious-disease specialist at Boston University. 

"There’s no evidence of masks leading to fungal or bacterial infections of the upper airway or the lower airway as in pneumonia," he said. 

There is a similar dearth of evidence to corroborate the claim that hospitals in New York have reported thousands of fungus lung infections caused by face masks, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does recommend washing cloth face coverings after each use.  

We rate this Facebook post False.

 

Our Sources

Facebook post, June 30, 2020

The Associated Press, Normal use of face masks do not cause pneumonia, June 24, 2020

Email interview with Barbara Osburn, vice president, public relations, Northwell Health, July 6, 2020

Email interview with Michael Pauley, vice president, communication and marketing strategy, Healthcare Association of New York State, July 6, 2020

Email interview with Brian Conway, senior vice president, communications, Greater New York Hospital Association, July 6, 2020

 

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Ciara O'Rourke

No, New York state hospitals didn’t report thousands of lung infections caused by face masks

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up