Dr. Matt McCarthy – Assistant Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell,staff physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and author of Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic– claims that the CDC is about to do a 180 degree change, and to recommend that everyone wear masks.
If true, such a change would be very helpful. Specifically, numerous studies show that “facemasks play a pivotal role in the prevention and control of infectious respiratory disease transmission“.
Indeed, a study last year by scientists at the Departments of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Maryland, and the FDA’s Division of Applied Mechanics, showed that – if 80% of a population wears masks – it will stop a flu epidemic (it “essentially eliminated the influenza outbreak”). They found that if half of a population wore masks, it “resulted in a significant … reduction in risk” (the typical flu virus is between 80 and 120 nanometers in diameter. The Wuhan Coronavirus is 120 nanometers).
Many other studies and metastudies show that masks are effective in combatting respiratory virus pandemics:
The New York Times notes:
As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, experts have started to question official guidance about whether ordinary, healthy people should protect themselves with a regular surgical mask, or even a scarf.
When researchers conducted systematic review of a variety of interventions used during the SARS outbreak in 2003, they found that washing hands more than 10 times daily was 55 percent effective in stopping virus transmission, while wearing a mask was actually more effective — at about 68 percent. Wearing gloves offered about the same amount of protection as frequent hand-washing, and combining all measures — hand-washing, masks, gloves and a protective gown — increased the intervention effectiveness to 91 percent.
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