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24 8, 4:38pm
the Robert Koch Institute and many, many virologists do believe that masks work to keep the spreader from spreading. It has less to do with protecting yourself from germs but with protecting OTHERS from YOUR germs. And in that respect, masks are an important tool in reducing the spread of the virus.
Germany has had only a tenth of the cases per capita, despite initial traffic from Italy and France, mainly because of a quick lockdown in the beginning and usage of masks after loosening restrictions. So empirical evidence does suggest that masks work.
As for your last paragraph, it looks as if you are upset that the news is not being partisan enough for you. I wonder why you have to reach back all the way to the Second World War, and somehow ignore the Gulf Wars where the US press was also largely uncritical. Or the Vietnam war, which to some conservative Americans is its own "Dolchstosslegende".