Wearing a face mask can reduce coronavirus transmission by up to 75%
Photo by Free To Use Sounds on Unsplash

One of the things I’ve loved about Japan and some other Asian countries is that when people have a cold, they often wear a face mask to protect others. I’ve always wished that people in the U.S. and other western countries would adopt this behavior. I’ve worn masks multiple times while traveling, both when I was under the weather and when I knew that passengers seated next to me were.

A face mask is one of the items that I’ve always carried in my carry-on bag. Up until a few months ago, that was surprising for many. I think one of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic is that people are not only learning to be more conscientious of germs but also feeling more comfortable wearing a mask when they’re sick. You’d be shocked by how many eyeballs and comments I received prior to the pandemic while wearing my mask on planes or at a conference. I’ve just never cared since I’ve known it was for the greater good.

A new study, reported on by FOX News, CNBC and Vox, has found that wearing a face mask can reduce coronavirus transmission by up to 75%. Per Vox, a “team from the University of Hong Kong determined that the benefits of face masks were massive. Using 52 hamsters in cages, the team found that non-contact transmission dropped by around 75 percent when masks were present. ‘The findings implied to the world and the public is that the effectiveness of mask-wearing against the coronavirus pandemic is huge,’ Dr. Yuen Kwok-yung told reporters.”

It blows my mind how many people there are refusing to wear a mask during this pandemic (with the exception of medical and legitimate personal reasons). It’s not that difficult, and it pained me to read this recent headline from The Guardian: “Not a mask in sight”: thousands flock to Yellowstone as park reopens.” Read the stories above if you need more convincing, and do your part.




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6 Comments On "Wearing a Face Mask Can Reduce Coronavirus Transmission by Up to 75%"
  1. rms|

    WHO says differently!!

  2. Mike|

    So I’m “rude” if sometimes I don’t wear a mask?

    “You must do what we say. It is for the greater good. There shall be no independent thought. Freedom is defined as we say. We are little fascists, we know what is best for you”. “Shame … shame…. shame … report your neighbors”.

  3. Wiley|

    Southwest has removed the face mask requirement from their home page, since the WHO made their declaration.

  4. Two_4_Exploring|

    It is interesting for the media to latch onto this study. The study was officially published May 30th 2020, preprint results were released prior to May 18th. All the media articles were May 18-May 20th. It seems like the media was in a rush to grab onto a study that supports their preferred mask stance. Especially since WHO still stands by not needing a mask (outside of medical env) unless you are taking care of someone who is sick or if you are coughing or sneezing.
    Now to this quoted hamster study. 66.75% of hamsters not protected by mask material did develop CV-19 after 5 or 7 days of exposure with a fan blowing air from the infected side to the non-infected (cages side by side). On average after 7 days there was only a 25% infection rate in the naive (un-infected) hamsters protected by mask material. Things I don’t care for from the study: The inference that this establishes some real world application to humans is a stretch, given the exposure times of 5 or 7 days. And using a fan to actively push air to the naive hamsters again raises the question of human applicability in humans. Finally the mask material used was surgical rated medical mask, not the cute cotton facial accessories being worn by most people.
    Now, I do wear a mask when I go into the store or when I cannot socially distance. It is not a big deal to me. Haven’t flown yet.
    Anyone know if you can buy a mask at the airport (maybe a good idea for a vending machine). American Air stated they do not supply masks, but they are required.

  5. john dzurovcin|

    WHO recomends only sick people wear a wask

  6. Patricia Buchholtz|

    As a medical professional, I ask that you please see the New England Journal of Medicine link below.
    We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.


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