September 14, 2021

Are Masks Really Effective?

Anthony Tilghman
Anthony Tilghman, is an 2x Award-winning photographer, Education advocate, Mentor, and Published Author with years of experience in media, photography, marketing and branding. He is the Winner of the 2020 & 2021 Dateline award for Excellence in Local Journalism.

‘Wait a minute, folks Purchasing Face masks!’ On February 29, 2020, then-Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted, ‘They are NOT efficient in stopping the public from contracting #Coronavirus.’ ‘People who do not understand how to use them appropriately are likely to contact their faces frequently and could enhance the transmission of coronavirus,’ Adams added two days later. These remarks came shortly after the recent backlash or masks’ wearing by various healthcare bodies and professionals across various parts of the world. Begging the question, are masks really effective?

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the effectiveness of wearing masks in preventing the transmission of respiratory illnesses was debatable due to a lack of reliable evidence. Throughout the pandemic, scientific research has grown. Data currently show that wearing a mask is an efficient nonpharmacologic strategy for reducing the transmission of this virus, particularly as source regulation to limit spread from sick people, but also as protection to minimize users’ infection exposure, whenever an infected person sneezes, breathes, coughs, or talks.

As per University of California San Francisco Studies, several lines of evidence back the effectiveness of masks. Experiments of nature provide the most compelling proof. They cite a recent study compiled in Health Affairs, which analyzed the COVID-19 development rate in the District of Columbia and 15 states prior to and following mask regulations. Mask directives were observed to cause a 0.9%-points decrease in daily Coronavirus infection rates in the initial five days, which became more noticeable with time, dropping 2% points in three weeks.

Other research also demonstrates that masks actually mitigate spread in high-risk situations. In one example, a man went from China to Toronto and was later diagnosed with Coronavirus. On the trip, he experienced a dry cough and wore a mask, whereas all 25 passengers in his immediate vicinity tested negative for the virus. In yet another epidemiological investigation, whilst infected with Coronavirus, two hairdressers in Kansas had close contact with 139 clients in late May. Out of all the 67 clients contacted for testing and questioning, no one tested positive.

These studies are only the tip of the iceberg of how effective masks are in preventing the spread of COVID-19. So, despite the talks that masks might not be as effective in controlling the transmission, you better stick by the directives of the World Health Organization (WHO), and wear a mask, especially while in public or crowded spaces, where you cannot uphold social distancing.

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