Sporting masks together with social distancing has most results on COVID-19, in accordance with research outcomes
A recent study published in The Lancet magazine found that self-reported use of face masks along with social distancing had a significant impact on controlling the transmission of the severe coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with acute respiratory syndrome in the United States . In addition, the urge to wear a face mask has been found to increase regardless of government mandates.
Since it emerged in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), has infected around 96.6 million people and claimed around 2 million lives worldwide. Since the virus is known to be transmitted from person to person mainly through respiratory droplets, government agencies of most countries have put in place various non-pharmacological control measures such as wearing a face mask, physical distancing, restricted movement, etc. Pandemic countries to curb virus transmission . However, a significant difference in the acceptance of these implementations was found at both the individual and the municipal level.
In addition to social distancing, face masks are especially effective as a mechanical barrier in reducing virus transmission. To evaluate the effects of wearing face masks on the COVID-19 pandemic, some studies were conducted, some of which showed effectiveness in controlling virus spread and others showed little effect on pandemic management when other control measures were in place.
In the current study, the scientists evaluated the self-reported wearing habits of face masks among US citizens regardless of government mandates and analyzed their effects on virus transmission.
Current study design
The scientists conducted a series of cross-sectional surveys among US citizens via a web-based platform. The questionnaire was designed to collect information about self-reports on mask wearing. The reproductive number, collected from publicly available sources, which indicates the infectiousness of a pathogen, was combined with the survey responses to assess the effects of wearing a mask on SARS-CoV-2 transmission. A reproduction number less than one was considered a community transmission control.
A total of 378,207 people were interviewed. About 84% of them reported wearing a mask in grocery stores, while 40% mentioned wearing a mask when visiting friends and family. Similarly, around 40% of all respondents said they wear masks and visit friends / family in grocery stores. An absolutely negative reaction to the triggering of masks was only received by 5% of the respondents.
A higher likelihood of wearing masks has been seen among women, blacks, Hispanic Americans, economically disadvantaged people, and older adults. The highest compliance was observed on the coasts and on the southern border as well as in large urban areas in terms of geographic variability.
Regarding the effects of mask wear, a significant positive correlation was observed between the percentage of people with self-reported mask wear habits and community transmission control. Analysis performed using a logistic model has shown that significant control of virus transmission can be achieved with a 10% increase in self-reported mask wear. In addition, communities with high numbers of people wearing masks and maintaining social distancing were predicted to have the highest likelihood of community transmission control. In contrast, states with high percentages of self-reported mask wearers but limited social distancing were predicted to have relatively low levels of community broadcast control.
To assess the change in the self-reported habit of wearing masks, the scientists conducted an additional survey in 12 states two weeks before and after the statewide mandates. Interestingly, following government-imposed mandates, no significant change in the habit of wearing masks was observed. However, it has been found that the tendency to wear a mask increases slightly (around 2%) during this period.
The study results suggest that the widespread use of face masks by the general population in the United States may have helped control the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and contain the COVID-19 trajectory. Additionally, the study predicts that wearing masks along with social distancing will have the greatest impact on managing the COVID-19 pandemic.