172 Studies Agree You Need to Do This to Combat Coronavirus
After a ton of research, there's finally agreement on this one aspect of the spread of COVID-19.
Wearing a face mask has become a controversial topic in some circles. And since the coronavirus outbreak started in the United States in late winter, scientists and medical experts have been conducting research on how much face masks can help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Now, the debate is as close to settled as it has ever been, if you look at the science. According to a new review of research published in British medical journal The Lancet, data from 172 separate observational studies proves that wearing face masks reduces the risk of coronavirus infection. The review, funded by the World Health Organization (WHO), is the broadest to date on face masks and COVID-19.
"Our findings suggest, in multiple ways, that the use of masks is highly protective in health-care and community settings," review author Holger Schünemann, an epidemiologist and physician at McMaster University in Ontario, told The Washington Post.
Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, agreed, adding, "anecdotally, it appears that face-mask use is an important control against multiple modes of SARS-CoV-2 transmission." He highlighted countries like South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam that "have had better success squashing the virus and keeping their economies going," because of their high rates of face-mask use early in the pandemic.
The most dangerous manner by which the COVID-19 pathogens are spread is via exhalation and inhalation of aerosolized droplets via sneezing, coughing, or even heavy breathing from exercise or talking loudly. While mask-wearing doesn't entirely prevent the spread, a protective covering over one's mouth and nose greatly reduce the spread of the contagion.
While face masks have become a political football amid the pandemic, if there is one thing on which almost everyone can agree in this divided time, it's that we all would like to return to some sort of pre-pandemic normalcy. But what has not been in agreement is how to end the spread of the potentially deadly COVID-19 contagion—until this recent report. And for more on face masks, check out 10 Myths About Face Masks You Need to Know.