And we have the scientific evidence to back it up. In fact, we have over 85 peer reviewed, scientific studies. 35 have been published in 2020 alone.
What do these studies say? Mask use…
* …is associated with a decline in the daily COVID-19 growth rate
* … stopped more than 200,000 COVID-19 cases in the US by May 22, 2020
* …In countries with positive mask norms or government policies, per-capita mortality increased on average by just 15.8% each week, as compared with 62.1% each week in remaining countries
* … decreases R(t) below 1, leading to the mitigation of epidemic spread.
* …among index cases in households, decreases secondary transmission by 79%* …does NOT reduce the amount of oxygen you’re receiving
* …reduces transmission of infected droplets in both laboratory and clinical contexts
* …prevents transmission, particularly in high risk settings like healthcare, planes, and hair salons
* …reduces the dose of virus a wearer might receive, resulting in infections that are milder or even asymptomatic
* …drives the wearer and those around them to adhere better to other measures, such as social distancing, reminding people of shared responsibility.
And my small list just touches the surface of evidence. Since July, mask use in the United States has been at a steady 60%. But we need this to increase.
Studies show that if…
* ….80% of the population wore masks, this would do more to reduce COVID-19 spread than a strict lockdown
* … 95% of population wore masks, we could have avoided 33,000 deaths in the US (as of October 1)
I’m not entirely sure why the efficacy of mask use is still up for discussion. But, nonetheless, this simple, low-cost intervention has the potential for a large impact. Concurrently, it’s important to recognize that mask wearing it’s not the cure all. It has to be combined with other public health efforts for ultimate success. (Many epidemiologists use swiss cheese to illustrate).
This virus is smart. We have to be smarter.
Data Sources: Here are 70 studies, but this was last updated July 3. https://threader.app/thread/1279144399897866248. Since there have been quite a few more including the most recent here: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2772655. Graph comes from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)…an independent global health research center at the University of Washington: https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america…