Surgical masks work very well in preventing spread of COVID-19
Masks have been politicized by some and derided by others throughout the pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, U.S. public health officials advised the public not to wear masks, in order to save then-scarce personal protective equipment for frontline workers. They quickly reversed their position and recommended masks — a seeming reversal that is still a sticking point for many citizens and politicians.To get more news about famous nonmedical mask stock, you can visit tnkme.com official website.
Yet since those early days, scientific studies have shown time and time again that masks — cloth, surgical, N95 masks, sometimes a mix of two — are a key step in stopping the spread of COVID-19. While the size of these studies varied, the outcome was typically the same; yet in scientific research, the larger the study, generally the more conclusive the results.
Hence, the medical community has been abuzz over a new research study released this week — and the largest study ever of its kind — that looks into face masks' efficacy for stopping COVID-19 transmission. The study also looked into interventions and their effectiveness, meaning forms of reminders that ask the public to wear masks. The Bangladesh-based research project, led by Innovations for Poverty Action Bangladesh, offers the most conclusive evidence yet that widespread wearing of surgical masks specifically can limit the spread of the coronavirus. The paper is currently a preprint, under peer review with the journal Science.
As the more contagious delta variant spreads across the world, the results of this study might create some urgency to ensure surgical masks are distributed in communities across the world where vaccine accessibility is currently limited, or wearing masks isn't common.
"We now have evidence from a randomized, controlled trial that mask promotion increases the use of face coverings and prevents the spread of COVID-19," said Stephen Luby, MD, professor of medicine at Stanford and co-author of the study, in a press release. "This is the gold standard for evaluating public health interventions. Importantly, this approach was designed to be scalable in lower- and middle-income countries struggling to get or distribute vaccines against the virus."
The researchers enrolled nearly 350,000 people from 600 villages in rural Bangladesh who were randomly assigned to a series of interventions promoting the use of surgical masks. Those who lived in those villages promoting the strategy were 11 percent less likely to develop COVID-19 compared to those living in the control villages, meaning those villages that were being studied but didn't have intervention strategies implemented, during an eight-week period. Notably, the reduction in likelihood of getting COVID-19 in the randomly assigned villages promoting the use of surgical masks increased to 35 percent for people over the age of 60. In total, 178,288 people were in the intervention group, and 163,838 people were in the control group.
So, what were these intervention strategies? Providing free surgical masks; reminding people in-person to mask up in public; informing citizens about the importance of covering both the mouth and nose with a mask; and having community leaders act as role models by masking regularly in the community.