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Study Reveals Masking Effectively Prevents COVID-19 Transmission

Study Reveals Masking Effectively Prevents COVID-19 Transmission

The importance of mask in COVID-19 is that it prevents transmission and helps curb the spread. But, unlike vaccines, which undergo rigorous testing, we only have few studies about how effective masks are. The good news is a team of researchers from Yale Stanford, UC Berkeley conducted a study to finally determine how well masks work in protecting us against the feared SARS-CoV-2 virus.

What’s the Best Way to Contain the Virus and Stop the Spread of COVID-19?

What’s the best way to protect ourselves from COVID-19?

Indeed, staying isolated is effective because it removes the possibility of transmission. But, how long can we stay isolated until we need to buy essential supplies or at least unwind from the month’s stress?

Getting the vaccine is another way to be safe. But not everyone can get the shot. And currently, supplies are not enough to cover the eligible population.

Experts say community lockdowns and limiting indoor gatherings help. But we don’t have enough data about them to say for sure how well they work.

Interestingly, we now have data about the importance of mask in COVID-19 prevention.

A Team of Researchers Decided To Conduct a Study To Determine The Importance of Mask in COVID-19

Researchers from Yale Stanford, UC Berkeley, released the results of a community-wide study involving at least 35,000 participants from 600 villages in Bangladesh.

They divided the villages into two groups: one where there’s intervention, and the other, where there’s none.

The scientists intervened by providing free masks, paying people to remind others to cover their faces, and asking religious figures and leaders to highlight how crucial it is to wear masks. Moreover, they also paid people to count how many wear their masks correctly in public places such as mosques and markets.

To check for SARS-CoV-2 transmission, the team of scientists asked for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and performed blood tests to identify people who contracted the infection.

Their Conclusion? Masks Work.

At the end of the study, the researchers concluded that masks work.

Results showed that the number of confirmed, symptomatic cases in the intervention group was 10% lower than in the control group.

Now, 10% seems like an insignificant figure, but the researchers considered that their intervention increased masking from 14% to 43%. Imagine what 100% masking would have done to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Another thing the study discovered is that villages from the intervention group had a 34% decrease in SARS-CoV-2 cases among senior citizens – a population considered to be at risk for severe infections.

Finally, the team of scientists established that surgical masks are genuinely better than cloth masks. This is in line with the conclusions from other studies.

Why This Study Matters

Some people who already accepted the importance of mask in COVID-19 may find this result old news. But remember that before this, we don’t have a community-wide study about how effective masks are against COVID-19.

The study also underscores the importance of building social norms. The intervention made by the researchers in the study was extensive, aggressive, and above all, expensive. And in the end, they paid off.

If the community can be as extensive and aggressive in wearing masks, especially in crowded places, there’s a good chance that we can reduce the number of daily cases.

Key Takeaways

A team of scientists from Yale Stanford, UC Berkeley, conducted a community-wide study involving 35,000 people from 600 villages in Bangladesh. They found out that their intervention increased mask-wearing from 14% to 43% and that masks reduce transmission by 10%. This clearly shows the importance of mask in COVID-19 prevention.

If you’re a healthcare frontliner, remember to wear medical-grade masks. In the community, surgical masks are still preferable, but if not available, reports still say that cloth masks may be used to prevent the spread of infection.

Learn more about Health News here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

The Masks Were Working All Along, https://amp-theatlantic-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/619989/ Accessed September 8, 2021

How well do face masks protect against coronavirus?, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-mask/art-20485449 Accessed September 8, 2021

Effectiveness of Cloth Masks for Protection Against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/10/20-0948_article Accessed September 8, 2021

An evidence review of face masks against COVID-19, https://www.pnas.org/content/118/4/e2014564118 Accessed September 8, 2021

DOH ISSUES PRESS RELEASE: SAFETY PREVENTION PROTOCOLS STILL BEST DEFENSE AGAINST COVID-19 – DOH, https://doh.gov.ph/node/23315 Accessed September 8, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated a week ago
Fact Checked by Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza
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