We have received several questions about whether face coverings actually protect us from the virus that causes COVID-19.
The evidence from many different sources is clear – face coverings are protective, especially when they’re used with the other recommended guidelines of keeping 6 feet between you and everyone else in public, washing or sanitizing your hands frequently, and staying home if you’re sick. Here’s a list of articles and studies and reports that have slight variations on the same theme — #MaskUpIdaho.
- In arecent editorial from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), research showed that adherence to universal masking policies decreased the number of positive COVID-19 test results within a Boston hospital system.
- In a recent study from CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the evidence showed that wearing a mask prevented the spread of infection from two Missouri hair stylists to their 139 customers.
- A group of researchers from Brigham Young University conducted a study that showed that “Researchers from hospitals, universities, the private sector and government agencies have concluded that masks could be one of the most powerful and cost-effective tools to stop COVID-19 and accelerate the economic recovery.”
- A recent study published in Health Affairs compared the COVID-19 growth rate before and after mask mandates in 15 states and the District of Columbia. The study found that mask mandates led to a slowdown in daily COVID-19 growth rate, which became more apparent over time.
- A review of the research in International Journal of Nursing Studies found that “community mask use by well people could be beneficial, particularly for COVID-19, where transmission may be pre-symptomatic.”
- A study from the CDC found that Navy service members on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which experienced a large Covid-19 outbreak, were less likely to get infected if they reported using a mask. Researchers concluded that the use of face coverings and other preventive measures could mitigate transmission.
- Another study looked at coronavirus deaths across 198 countries and found that those with cultural norms or government policies favoring mask-wearing had lower death rates.
- A study to be published in CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases in October concludes that in community settings, cloth masks may be used to prevent community spread of infections by sick or asymptomatically infected people, and the public should be educated about their correct use.
- Here’s a Q&A with scientists at Stanford, who say masks and face coverings help protect us all. “Wearing a mask doesn’t mean that you are weak or afraid or a coward. It’s a way to protect the vulnerable around you. It’s our duty to keep each other healthy.”
- “The best mask is one you can wear comfortably and consistently.” The writers of this article spoke with UC San Francisco epidemiologist George Rutherford, MD, and infectious disease specialist Peter Chin-Hong, MD, “about the CDC’s reversal on mask-wearing, the current science on how masks work, and what to consider when choosing a mask.”
- Masks “protect others but they also protect you. You will get in a lower dose of virus if you wear a mask and are exposed to COVID-19 and are very likely to have mild or no symptoms.” This is from a report written by infectious disease experts that will publish soon in the Journal of Internal Medicine.