The Scientific Evidence Is Growing. New research suggests that face coverings help reduce the transmission of droplets, though some masks are more protective than others.
Face masks are emerging as one of the most powerful weapons to fight the new coronavirus, with growing evidence that facial coverings help prevent transmission—even if an infected wearer is in close contact with others.
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said he believes the pandemic could be brought under control over the next four to eight weeks if “we could get everybody to wear a mask right now.” His comments, made in mid-July with the Journal of the American Medical Association, followed an editorial he and others wrote there emphasizing “ample evidence” of asymptomatic spread and highlighting new studies showing how masks help reduce transmission.
The research Dr. Redfield cited included a newly published study suggesting that universal use of surgical masks helped reduce rates of confirmed coronavirus infections among health-care workers at the Mass General Brigham health-care system in Massachusetts.
Researchers from around the world have found wearing even a basic cloth face covering is more effective in reducing the spread of coronavirus than wearing nothing at all. And many are now examining the possibility that masks might offer some personal protection from the virus, despite initial thinking that they mostly protect others.
Experts caution that widespread masking doesn’t eliminate the need to follow other recommendations, like frequent handwashing and social distancing.
Some Americans who have resisted wearing masks have cited health concerns. However, leading medical groups said in a joint statement Thursday, “Individuals with normal lungs, and even many individuals with underlying chronic lung disease, should be able to wear a non-N95 facial covering without affecting their oxygen or carbon-dioxide levels.” Exemptions should be at the discretion of a physician, the groups said.
If you are afraid of masks…don’t go out…or maybe move to Florida?