Mask wearing cuts new COVID-19 cases by 53%, study finds

Mask wearing cuts the risk of new COVID-19 infections by 53 percent, new research published Nov. 18 in BMJ found.

Researchers performed meta-analyses of studies investigating the effectiveness of various public health measures against curbing the spread of COVID-19. In regards to mask wearing, researchers analyzed six studies looking at 2,627 patients and included 389,228 total participants.

Noted limitations of the study included limited high quality evidence on SARS-CoV-2 and the effectiveness of public health measures, modification of information as additional evidence becomes available and exclusion of studies that did not provide certainty over the effect measure.

Other key findings:

  • Hand-washing lowered risk by 53 percent, but the result came from a limited sample size of three studies featuring 10,345 participants.

  • Physical distancing cut the risk by 25 percent. 

  • Lockdowns aided in curbing new cases, with researchers citing studies in India and South Africa with 10.8 percent and 14.1 percent reductions in risk, respectively.

  • Lockdowns in Italy and Spain resulted in 30 percent and 60 percent reductions in mortality post-lockdown, respectively.

Read the full study here


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