There has been so much information since these pandemic response activities began early one year ago. The last twelve months have offered a deluge of information. One of the more commonplace topics of this last year centers around mask-wearing. While masks were initially discouraged in order to preserve vital PPE for frontline healthcare workers, the guidance evolved and called on all individuals to do their part to reduce the risk of spreading SARS-CoV-2. It is believed that COVID-19 is spread through droplets we generate when we talk, breathe, cough, or sneeze. As a result, it makes perfect sense that if we interrupt the path the droplets take when we create them then there’s a good chance we can also interrupt the likelihood of spreading the infection. The level of protection offered by cloth face covering varies depending on many different variables such as material, how well it’s worn, proximity, and other variables.
Studies have shown that multi-layer masks can block nearly 80% of the droplets that a person generates. That’s nearly as effective as surgical masks that healthcare workers wear. This does not mean that they can be used interchangeably in the healthcare environment but it does show a great deal of promise for people in the community. If other individuals are wearing a mask then the protection is further enhanced by blocking some of the droplets that person might have otherwise breathed in. That means that each person has the capability of interrupting the spread of the virus!
There are so many examples where mask-wearing has proven effective, both in controlled studies and in real-world settings. To read more about the science behind these studies click here.