Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, advocates a national mask mandate, as does President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. But now, a new study conducted by Danish researchers has suggested that face masks are not effective in protecting people from COVID-19.
"The study does not confirm the expected halving of the risk of infection for people wearing face masks", it said.
After a month, the mas-wearing volunteers were tested for current and previous Covid-19 infection and compared with the control group who didn't wear them. When an uninfected person wears a mask near an infected person who is not wearing it, the amount of virus inhaled by the uninfected person decreases by up to 50%.
But one thing the study should do is knock down any false sense of confidence that people may get when they have a mask on.
The evidence within the Damask-19 study excludes a large personal protective effect of mask wearing but can not definitely exclude "no effect".More news: COVID hospitalization risk has increased for those over 70, Quebec says
The team, from Copenhagen University Hospital said the findings should not be used to argue against their widespread use, however, because masks may prevent people infecting others.
"If you think about the history, you know the surgical mask was invented not to protect the surgeon, but to protect the patient from the surgeon; you know, coughing into the open surgical wounds and causing infection in the patient", Laine says.
But Dr. Christine Laine, editor in chief of the Annals of Internal Medicine, described the previous evidence that masks protect wearers as weak.
During this period, only about two percent of Denmark's population had contracted the coronavirus, lower than several other European countries such as Spain and Italy.
Unlike other studies that analyzed the effectiveness of face masks, this research conducted by experts from Denmark was a randomized controlled trial which means it is high-quality scientific evidence. Therefore, these results can not be used in the context of the fact that masks do not need to be worn at all.
There are plenty of reasons not to abandon masks based on this one study.
"The question this study was created to answer is: Do they work as personal protection?"More news: Friends star Courtney Cox recreates Monica Gellers Turkey head dance for Thanksgiving
"An N95 mask is better than a surgical mask,"Frieden said".
But since the coronavirus first appeared, authorities have gained a better understanding of how it spreads and how masks can help stop that spread.
But when BOTH people are wearing masks, that produced the best result.
The agency pointed to a study led by Japanese researchers, which found that masks mask about 60% of the amount of virus that an infected person exits.
Health officials said cloth masks block droplets from being exhaled by the wearer and also provide "filtration for personal protection" by preventing droplets from reaching others.
The study's findings "should not be used to conclude that a recommendation for everyone to wear masks in the community would not be effective in reducing SARS-CoV-2 infections, because the trial did not test the role of masks in source control of SARS-CoV-2 infection", the authors wrote.More news: Nicola Sturgeon 'never so certain' of Scotland independence