Mask Wearing Correlates Strongly with Declining COVID-19 Transmission, Says New Study

Airborne transmission is the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19.


Wearing face masks in public is the most effective way to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers also conclude that airborne transmission is the dominant route for the disease's spread.

The team of chemists and atmospheric scientists behind the report came to this conclusion by tracking how the epidemics unfurled in three epicenters—Wuhan, China; northern Italy; and New York City—before and after mandatory masking was adopted. Keeping in mind that correlation does not necessarily mean causation, let's look at what they report.

The researchers analyze the epidemic's trend and the mitigation measures in the three epicenters from January 23 to May 9. In their analysis, they take into account the timing of when stay-at-home guidelines, social distancing recommendations (such as limits on crowd sizes), lockdown measures (such as the closing of schools, restaurants, and sporting events), instructions to wash hands frequently, and mandatory public masking were adopted in each region. They then correlate these measures with the observed trends in confirmed COVID-19 cases in each jurisdiction.

Chinese authorities in Wuhan basically adopted social distancing, crowd limits, lockdowns, and masking simultaneously in late January. Lockdown and social distancing measures were adopted on March 9 in Northern Italy and on March 22 in New York City. Public masking was mandated in northern Italy on April 6 and for the rest of the country on May 4; in New York City, the face mask mandate came on April 17.

The researchers quantified the effects of face covering by projecting the number of infections based on the data prior to implementing the use of face masks in northern Italy on April 6 and New York City on April 17:

They calculate that mandated masking reduced the number of confirmed cases by more than 78,000 in Italy from April 6 to May 9 and by more than 66,000 in New York City from April 17 to May 9. On May 9, there had been about 220,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Italy and around 185,000 in New York City.

The team also compares the trend in the number of cases in masked New York City from April 17 to May versus the rest of the country from April 5 to May 9. They find that after mandatory masking, COVID-19 cases in New York City began declining at the rate of about 3 percent per day, whereas they continued to rise in the rest of the country at around 0.3 percent per day. "The decreasing rate in the daily new infections in NYC with mandated face covering is in sharp contrast to that in the United States with only social-distancing and stay-at-home measures, further confirming the importance of face covering in intervening the virus transmission," the authors argue.

The researchers review prior studies on how many respiratory particles infected people shed and how long those aerosols linger the the air, both indoors and outdoors. They note that the initial public health advice—e.g., frequent hand-washing—was largely aimed at preventing the disease from spread through direct contact, such as touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. And those are still good recommendations. But while following that advice slowed the epidemic, dramatic reductions in viral transmission in Italy and New York City occurred only after wearing masks in public was mandated. They therefore conclude that masking prevents the transmission of the disease by blocking the atomization of virus-containing respiratory droplets (coughing, sneezing, talking) and their subsequent inhalation by uninfected people.

Since they find that airborne transmission is the dominant route for spreading COVID-19, they argue that "wearing of face masks in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent interhuman transmission, and this inexpensive practice, in conjunction with extensive testing, quarantine, and contact tracking, poses the most probable fighting opportunity to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, prior to the development of a vaccine."

Correlation, again, is not causation. But this is a pretty strong correlation.

NEXT: The 1793 Project Unmasked

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  1. The lines mark the start of a mandate. It does not mark a transition between no masks and all masks. It might mark a transition between some masks and more masks.

    Anyway, I’m always wary of studies with timing and results that are very convenient for the state.

    1. And what makes them assume that the trend was going to be linear without a mask mandate?

      1. Considering they started out with 4,000 people dead in a population of 60M and 22,000 people dead in a population of 8M, I’d hope to God their correlations are fucking good. Otherwise their torturing the fuck out of data and reason generate even shakier support of their bullshit conclusion.

        1. Sorry, infected, not dead.

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    2. How is this convenient for the state? This makes the state look foolish. The state told us not to wear masks.

      1. It’s convenient because it’s what they’re mandating now. They can’t allow things to go back to mostly normal. They have to be the leaders telling everyone what to do and where to go.

        1. Since wearing masks is more effective than social distancing, businesses can open up again and people can go back to work and start socializing. Masks are a lot cheaper and easier than locking everything down and sending everybody money. Plus they don’t tank the economy.

          1. Except for restaruants, bars, barbershops, and any other business where you have to remove your mask to patronize effectively. Presumably department store dressing rooms would have to remain closed.

            Of course, all of the above would only be done with approval by the state, which would still be complying with the quintessential definition of fascism.

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  2. …in conjunction with extensive testing, quarantine, and contact tracking, poses the most probable fighting opportunity to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, prior to the development of a vaccine.

    Are we doing extensive testing?

    1. No. And no to contact tracing too.

  3. The pattern of cases of a typical infectious disease follows a log normal distribution. With or without public health interventions. Here in chart A the cases already started to decline before the face-covering requirement was put in place. None of the social distancing measures were necessary in the US. There were never imposed before. There was never any record of them “working.” The latest masking propaganda push is a face saving attempt by the panicmongers to divert from the truth that nothing they’ve been promoting in the last three months was necessary.

    1. More like ass covering than face saving.

      Switch that, reverse it?

      1. Cover saving and ass facing?

    2. It seems counterintuitive to suggest that social distancing and mask wearing have no impact. I understand the argument that those things were not as important as the economic ramifications that go along with it, but it’s a pretty big stretch to say that these tried and true methods to reduce contact with people and their droplets “don’t work”.

      1. I cannot comment in regard to social distancing. However, in regards to masks, they have not been shown to be effective. They become covered with exhalations and droplets within 15 minutes. A sneeze merely blows the particles off the contaminated mask.

        1. Trying to stop a virus with a mask (as opposed to a properly fitted N95 respirator) is like trying to stop a ‘bb’ fired from an air gun with a chain link fence.

          For masks to be effective at all, it is necessary that the person using it wash hands before and after every single time they touch the mask. If they don’t wash hands before touching it, they’re introducing whatever particles have accumulated on their hands to that chain link fence, right where the air is passing through on its way into your nose and lungs. There’s no droplets at that point… they have long since evaporated, leaving the bare virus particles (virions).

          Masks are uncomfortable and they shift around a lot. They make people feel like they are suffocating, and the air inhaled is hot and unpleasant. One victim of a mask-wearing rule I spoke to says that if you wear glasses, they abrade the area right where the glasses touch after a while.

          Because of how uncomfortable they are, many people are constantly moving it down off their nose then back up when they think a Karen is nearby. These people may avoid the ire of the Karens, including those who work for the government, but they’re increasing their odds of catching the coronavirus. The most important thing is to not touch the face with unwashed hands, and masks make people touch their faces far more often.

          Medical professionals have to be taught how to use a mask. They have to get it drilled into their minds not to touch it, and if they have to remove it for a bit, how not to contaminate one side with the other.

          That was why the CDC initially said that mask wearing by non medical professionals was not recommended. They’re not trained to use them properly, and using them improperly is worse than not using them at all. I remember people saying, “It’s a mask! You put it in front of the mouth and nose. Why does it take medical training to do that?”

          Well, simply, because you’re going to fuck it up if you don’t have any medical training, like every person out there is doing. It’s why WHO still does not recommend general masking for everyone. Worn improperly, they increase the chance of disease, and everyone out there besides doctors, nurses, etc., wears them improperly.

          Now Fauci is saying they lied when they told us not to wear masks early on, because they were in short supply for medical professionals. Is anyone here of a shortage of old T-shirts two or three months ago? They’re telling people to use improvised masks made out of T-shirts or a bandanna, or whatever other cloth you can find. So is it that they didn’t do that two months ago because we needed more bandannas for medical professionals, who presumably were going to come to your house to get the one you may already have, so we don’t want yours to be dirty when they come for it?

          Even most of the nasty blue paper things that are being sold by office supply stores and what not come in boxes that clearly say “non-medical,” which means they’re not the ones for those medical professionals who needed them more than us. Presumably, they’re not tested or certified to some medical standard, just like your bandanna or T-shirt.

          Now that Fauci admits to being a liar, why should we believe him now when he says masks are effective? He admits to lying, which we already knew by virtue of the conflicting advice, but now he admitted that much. Maybe he’s lying now, and was telling the truth then.

          If airborne transmission is the major route of infection, anything short of a N95 respirator, properly fitted (they have to be really tight and can be quite painful after a while when fitted right, so most people don’t do it right) is nothing more than a good luck charm to ward off evil spirits. It’s superstition masquerading as science. You might as well wear a string of garlic around your neck to protect against vampires while you’re at it.

          The whole thing about mask-wearing is supposed to be about people not having symptoms but “having” the disease? As medical people already knew before COVID was a thing, it’s very common with infectious diseases. The thing about them spreading COVID without having symptoms themselves? Probably doesn’t happen, and if it does, very rarely, and it takes extended contact times to build enough viral load to make someone sick. You can’t have high amounts of viral shedding without a high viral load, and you can’t have a high viral load of a virus like corona without being quite sick. The virus only gets to a high load by destroying the cells in your lungs. It can’t reproduce without destroying the host’s cells. No virus can. Having your cells destroyed makes you sick. Having so few cells destroyed that you feel nothing means you have not that many virus particles inside you, and that means you will expel not that many of them OUTside you.

          It takes quite a lot of the pathogen before someone will get sick… it’s not the case that one single virion getting in means you get the disease. It takes fewer of them in older or immunocompromised individuals, but it still takes more than a few of them, and the body constantly removes them as it finds them. That’s probably why the study in Respiratory Medicine had the result that none of the 455 test subjects who had a mean of 4 hours of contact with a COVID infected person with no symptoms ended up catching it. The very low shedding rate is easily handled by the immune system of the person in close proximity, even before antibodies are formed for the virus. The low level exposure probably creates the antibodies, effectively vaccinating the person with no actual perceptible illness.

          All of this is well known and widely accepted in medical science. It’s well established that masking outside of a medical setting (with everyone adhering to medical protocols and strict infection control measures outside of the masking) is useless. Not “less effective, but still good…” /Useless./

          Also, who says we want to prevent transmission? As long as there is no herd immunity, there are two kinds of people: those who had it, and those who will have it. All you do by preventing healthy, younger people from getting it is keep the older, vulnerable people in the line of fire longer (and sooner or later, their luck will run out). Those of us that can take the hit should be free to do so… it won’t harm the general public, but will benefit it, by helping to build the one and only thing that can protect the vulnerable.

  4. sophistry [ sof-uh-stree ] (noun, plural soph·ist·ries) — a subtle, tricky, superficially plausible, but generally fallacious method of reasoning.

  5. Correlation, again, is not causation. But this is a pretty strong correlation.

    Our analysis indicates that face covering reduced the number of infections by over 78,000 in Italy from April 6 to May 9 and by over 66,000 in NYC from April 17 to May 9.

    Somebody check my math: 78K people saved in 33 days from a population of 60M people but 66K people saved in population of 8M people in 22 days. So in terms of people saved per mask day, the R-square is absolute shit, no?

    Saying, “My model fits part of my data, ergo the part it doesn’t fit must be for the reason I say.” is nothing short of outright lying with statistics.

  6. Now do the corralation of summer weather to covid 19.
    Next grilling for dinner to covid 19
    Then rioting to covid 19
    Next number of comments reason articles get per day to covid 19

    1. Pastafarians notice the correlation between the decline of the number of pirates and the rise of global temperatures, and they conclude (satirically, of course) that pirates prevent global warming.

  7. “Says New Study”

    No one fucking cares Bailey get it through your fucking idiot mind.

    It’s like you didn’t just witness science get hijacked for politics you Stockholm Syndrome fuck.

    1. What he said^

    2. love it.

    3. Write your own stupid column then about how everybody is going to get it sooner or later no matter what you do might as well get it over with and get back to work. Other mopey ass idiots will love it.

      1. “Write your own stupid column”

        Hi you’re a retarded crybaby so let me explain.

        That’s the exact opposite of my point.

        Continue crying bitch.

        1. PaIoma is Ron Bailey

          1. lololoo that is the kind of passive aggressive bitch move he’d pull


    4. Nice use of f-bombs. That increases your credibility and makes you sound like a progressive millennial.

  8. There is a very easy way to see if wearing masks all the time and never being allowed in public or to have a job leads to lower rates of the virus. We just have to compare the rates of middle eastern women vs. men

    1. *rates among

      1. Rates are already lower among women. We don’t want to encourage them to think it’s the burka that’s making the difference that is naturally attributable to being female.

  9. “Chinese authorities in Wuhan basically adopted social distancing, crowd limits, lockdowns, and masking simultaneously in late January”

    And following, I prove that only the masks had any effect – – – – – – – –

    Really? Is there actually a Reason staff, or are they all bots?

    1. Bots can pass a Turing test.

  10. I wrapped my bandana around my stick shifter weeks ago just to be the yang to your fearful yin

  11. From the paper: “The data for accumulative confirmed infections and fatalities in Wuhan, Italy, and NYC were taken from the reports by Wuhan Municipal Health Commission


  12. Pretty much old-fashioned GIGO.

    1. The only people getting tested before mid-April were those who were very sick. People with moderate to no symptoms were not tested. In fact, there was way to get getting tested if you were still breathing. Even today, the only people getting tested are symptomatic or are worried about getting sick. Extrapolating these observations to the general population is garbage.

    2. Is the test today the same the same test in March/April? I honestly don’t know, but improvement in testing process has to be controlled.

    3. Speaking of control, it is absurd to think the infection rate would continue to be linear. Even smallpox and black plague didn’t kill everyone. The infection rate will level off even without any interventions, government mandated or otherwise. Without a control group of a population without public mandates, the difference between mandated and non-mandated interventions is only speculation.

    4. Bring back the PREVIEW button!!

    1. 3. Speaking of control, it is absurd to think the infection rate would continue to be linear. Even smallpox and black plague didn’t kill everyone. The infection rate will level off even without any interventions, government mandated or otherwise. Without a control group of a population without public mandates, the difference between mandated and non-mandated interventions is only speculation.

      Not to mention that the issue with the virus was supposed to be it’s capacity for exponential growth.

      They cherry picked two sets of data, massaged it until it was linear (on a log-log plot even exponential growth is linear), and then made up conclusions about where their line didn’t fit.

      It’s more brazen than lying with statistics as the statistics don’t describe their hypothesis about masks as much as confirm that the growth is linear. It’s lying in the proximity of statistics.

    2. “Is the test today the same the same test in March/April? I honestly don’t know, but improvement in testing process has to be controlled.”

      For the most part, yes. Some added diversity in platforms, but performance is roughly the same.

  13. It might lower transmission in a controlled study with cooperative, well trained people I doubt it is in reality. I see lose fitting masks, mask on men with beards, masks below noses, masks above chins, masks on foreheads, masks around necks. All these people are “wearing masks” yet none of those masks are stopping anything.

    1. Just for the record, the official CDC term is “cloth face covering”. That is because “mask” has a specific medical usage.
      From your tax dollar consuming friends at the CDC:
      When using a cloth face covering, make sure:
      1 The mouth and nose are fully covered
      2 The covering fits snugly against the sides
      of the face so there are no gaps
      3 You do not have any difficulty breathing
      while wearing the cloth face covering
      4 The cloth face covering can be tied or
      otherwise secured to prevent slipping
      5 Wash your cloth face covering after
      each use in the washing machine
      or by hand using a bleach solution
      Allow it to completely dry.

      I have yet to see this ‘in the wild’ – – – – – – – –

    2. If people are “wearing masks”, but either don’t have their noses covered, or are wearing them around their necks, above their chins, or on foreheads, of course that’s not going to stop anything. The people who are acting so irresponsibly simply don’t care if they put other people, as well as themselves, at risk for contracting Covid-19.

    3. “yet none of those masks are stopping anything.”

      I wouldn’t use the word “anything” here. I’d use “everything”. Masks, even when improperly worn, are helpful at REDUCING large droplet deposit on surfaces. My concern is all the fidgeting I’m seeing with masks, potentially encouraging hands to mouth. Still might be a net reduction from the ~20/hr. though.

  14. they argue that “wearing of face masks in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent interhuman transmission, and this inexpensive practice, in conjunction with extensive testing, quarantine, and contact tracking, poses the most probable fighting opportunity to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, prior to the development of a vaccine.”

    I really don’t get it. This is nearly mid-June – and we get a conclusion that boils down to ‘we’ve been modeling Public Health 101 measures – and it appears they might work’

    You know what might work better? DOING Public Health 101. Which is also what would have worked starting in late Jan. And has been known as Public Health 101 for freaking decades now. Too bad we didn’t actually DO Public Health 101 starting in late Jan. But hey on the bright side, that failure gave us a chance to model what we didn’t do in order to find out that what we didn’t do probably would have worked had we done it.

    Stop dicking around with computers.

    1. Actually, the CDC website clearly states in several places that maintaining a physical distance is the most effective reduction method.

      I places “cloth face coverings” in the area of ‘voluntary additional means’.

      1. I would agree that both maintaining distance and avoiding common areas are more effective than masks. And for a wider range of different diseases too. But can’t always maintain distance or avoid common areas in normal life.

        I don’t see why:
        a)focusing research – both lab then simulated/real environment early on a new virus to see how it transmits then
        b)ranking different measures and communicating them in order to educate the public about how they can best protect themselves

        is so difficult. But that apparently proved to be impossible to do here in the US. At least early on when its actually needed – and when it was actually done in countries that did do public health.

        1. Sorry, but wearing masks that cover both the mouth and the nose, and social distancing are rules that are NOT meant to be broken, and those who break those rules do so at their own peril, as well as the peril of other people.

          1. Don’t rules take away freedom?
            This is a “projection” study based on modeling. Those were wildly off initially regarding infections.
            All masks may do is postpone some people from being exposed to the virus, but it will run its course and everyone will eventually be exposed. Not wearing masks by non-scrubbed operating room personnel has been shown to not increase patient infections.

            It’s impossible to model multi-variable inputs when all the variables are not known.

    2. I really don’t get it.

      We know.

      Public Health 101

      It’s (not so) funny (sad really) that a guy that starts off by saying “I don’t get it.” proceeds to lecture everyone on common sense using Public Health 101 as a proxy.

      It’s almost like you don’t know dick about public health unless it’s pumped into your brainpan auraly for you to regurgitate it, raw and wholly unprocessed, orally.

  15. For the first month, the government said “whatever you do, don’t wear a mask.” Good job.

    1. “For the first month, the government said “whatever you do, don’t wear a mask. Good job.”

      Reply: At that time I said I suspected that the government was trying to reserve the existing supply of masks for health care workers, and that its down-playing the usefulness of masks by the public was a noble lie.

  16. This is absurd…the trend in NY was going down because they had the infection weeks before the rest of the country. The trend looks the same in every location all over the world. The rest of the country could not even get a Covid19 test unless they were sick. I have quit tracking infections, which mean little as testing has gone up exponentially, therefore more cases means almost nothing. I only look at hospitalizations and deaths

    1. Same. Hospitalizations and deaths attributed to the disease are the most important aspects. I couldn’t care less how many people have tested positive because the moment it hit pandemic level we should have been resigned to the fact that everyone will be exposed to it. My concern is with the statistics of who is being hospitalized. What is the breakdown on age, profession, pre-existing health issues, etc. It’s incredibly disappointing that there seems to be little effort to parse anecdotal evidence to learn where/how people are becoming infected and who should actually be concerned about it

    2. “I only look at hospitalizations and deaths”

      Bingo. Hospitalizations is a great metric, sample size numbers and less bias re: age.

  17. So our rural county has about 30 “confirmed cases” within two groups tied to common healthcare workers. There has only been one hospitalization that can be remotely connected to the Wuhan Flu -and that person is in his/her 80’s.
    We were mask-free through Memorial Day and then our out-of-town “health officer” decided to get all trendy and require masks in commercial buildings – except when you’re eating or drinking because the Chinese Cough knows not to transmit in restaurants or bars…or at protests or within the confines of CHAZ.
    Judging from my observations, the “masks” employed range from bandanas (handkerchiefs) to dust-masks to medical-ish looking paper masks. Many of our residents sport facial hair (even some of the men) so the effectiveness of any mask is vastly degraded. Then there are the people who wear their mask over their mouth but not their nose, over their chin only, or hanging from one ear. And I’m certain that masks are greatly improving security video.

  18. Excuse me while I ignore this study. Until the next one is released, saying something different.

  19. Reporting Individual, unconfirmed individual studies is irresponsible and unreasonable. It does not help the public to know what’s best and creates a “boy who cried wolf” among the populace. Knock it off.

  20. The “study” is mainly evidence of how shoddy scientific work on COVID-19 is: the fact that a government mandate of X roughly coincided with a change in disease trends tells you nothing. Zero. Zilch.

  21. The only way to find out if something really had an effect is to create a parallel universe and then do the opposite thing to see if there is a difference in what happens. Please stop trying to justify anything that the state and federal governments forced us to do. The earth got to this point in time, being overpopulated and wondering how it was going to feed the masses, without locking entire nations and economies down. This whole mess is BS!

  22. Wearing masks is just one way to remind everyone of the chinaflu panᵈᵉᵐic with the hope that people will think it is Trump’s fault.
    The whole panᵈᵉᵐic was a concoction to try to get him to lose his re-election bid.

  23. I for one am not convinced of the accuracy of this timely report about the value of face masks for minimizing the spread of the Covid 19 scare. They may be beneficial in areas where the infections are known to exist such as nursing homes and hospitals. One thing the masks do not cover is the eyes. Our eyes have tear ducts which connect to our nasal passage another spot of infection transmission which is why touching the eyes or face was an issue. I personally think that in the general public we should be able to make our own individual choice to wear one or not.

  24. It’s not even very good correlation because the researchers in this study ignored the baseline changes to disease transmission. The researchers looked for time-based changes before and after implementation of face-mask rules. In their computer models, they assumed that the pre-mask rate of disease progression would continue indefinitely. On the contrary, infectious disease progression follows an s-shaped curve called a Gompertz curve. In the early stages, it does look like exponential growth. But it then flattens and then inverts to a pattern that looks like logarithmic growth.

    The study Bailey cites above failed to control for that expected change in disease progression and instead attributed all change in the infection rate to the behavior of wearing face masks.

    Face masks may well prevent transmission of COVID-19 but that study did not demonstrate it.

    1. “In the early stages, it does look like exponential growth.”

      I believe their argument is that their analysis period hadn’t yet reached the point of inflection where it ceased to look like exponential growth.

      1. From their write-up, I am unconvinced that they even understand the underlying disease model. Regardless, they present no evidence to support your interpretation.

        If you look at a logarithmic plot of deaths per capita, the curve diverges from linear at approximately day 18 from first reported death within each jurisdiction. That doesn’t mean the disease progression has flipped from exponential to logarithmic but it does mean the exponential value is declining. So let’s play out some scenarios. Country A implements a mask rule 30 days after first death. They are already in the period of declining growth rate. Country B implements a mask rule 15 days after first death. The incubation period for COVID-19 is approximately 2 weeks. By they time they have any useful data (that is, after lagging for 14 days), they also are in the period where rates are already declining. The only scenario that you can actually test is country C which implements the mask rule on day 1 – but that’s so soon that you don’t actually have any baseline date in country C. You have literally one death. Their analysis just doesn’t work.

  25. I hate to disappoint but I may have a contrarian view to this hogwash due to the following :

    History does indeed show that the Victor gets to enforce the definitions of words; as a wiener (Ed: sick) Thus I define an ‘expert’ as a health care professional who has directly treated a whole bunch of carriers without catching Wuhan Virus themselves. We don’t need no stinkin’ papers! [Hugo Montenegro whistles in the background] What I’ve heard from these verifiable experts is that they find about 90% of transmission is due to direct contact with a carrier, or a surface a carrier has directly touched. Airborne transmission is unlikely within normal distancing. Touching the hand to the face is the cause of catching the virus almost exclusively, unless you have an abrasion or such that increases possibilities. So this would take the exact same findings and draw totally different conclusions : masks inhibit you from touching most of your vulnerable parts of your face, and can provide a surface to ‘wipe off’ the icky stuff. So there!

  26. Another bogus study repeated by Ron Bailey, who never seems to be able to think for himself.

    Where there does seem to be a strong correlation with mask wearing, is mass riots and looting. Makes sense, too.

  27. This study is flawed:
    1. It’s a projection study and we know those are substantially wrong.
    2. They only know how many people were infected by how many people tested.
    3. They do not know how many people were exposed to virus and naturally resisted or were asymptomatic.
    4. A randomized controlled study showed that when masks were not worn by non-scrubbed operation room personnel the rate of infection went down.

  28. I’m having a hard time understanding how the conclusion that masks prevent the spread of disease suggests that airborne transmission is the dominant mechanism. Masks also prevent surface-based transmission (e.g. if you’re wearing a mask, your large droplets are less likely to land on a surface that will be touched by someone else; or by wearing a mask, you’re probably not touching your mouth with your hands as often).

    I think the distinction is important because it not only provides insight into the importance of hand hygiene, wiping down surfaces, etc — but also tells us whether social distancing is important in situations where someone isn’t wearing a mask. For example, if airborne is the primary mode of transmission, you don’t want to share airspace with someone who’s not wearing a mask consistently (e.g. in a closed office building). But if surfaces are the primary mode, this is less of a factor if you’re practicing pristine hand hygiene (e.g. wearing gloves, sanitizer stations, etc).

    1. And by “not wearing a mask consistently”, I’m also talking about the dozens of people I see every day whose masks aren’t covering their noses or who are wearing loose-fitting homemade masks.

      1. I laugh when I see someone driving their car alone while wearing a mask. Hilarious!

  29. Oooh, another MODEL.
    Gee, aren’t all models 100% correct? You know, like the model that showed 2 MILLION dying in the US?
    Oh yeah, I believe these guys.
    Do some research on your own and you may find that face coverings don’t work against virons as small as the influenza viron. That’s what I learned after reading over a dozen articles about wearing masks.

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