More evidence masks slow Covid spread

  • After Massachusetts healthcare workers were required to wear masks, Covid-19 infections among them sharply decreased
  • At the same time, infections in the community continued to rise 
  • This serves as a clear indication that wearing masks helps to prevent infection

Here's more proof that masking up reduces transmission of Covid-19: A new Massachusetts study found that wearing face coverings resulted in a decrease in coronavirus cases among healthcare workers as infections were increasing in the surrounding community.

"We found clear benefits to universal masking for preventing infectious spread within the work environment," researcher Dr Stefanos Kales said. He's division chief of occupational and environmental medicine at the Cambridge Health Alliance (a Harvard-affiliated community health system) and a professor at Harvard Medical School.

Universal masking implemented and maintained

For the study, the researchers compared the rate of Covid-19 cases between the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) and Massachusetts residents from 17 March to 6 May. The CHA started requiring masks on 26 March.

The universal masking was done during a time of rising infections in both the healthcare system and the community. After the policy was instituted, infections among healthcare workers sharply decreased, while community infections continued to rise until their peak on April 20. Before the mask mandate, infection rates increased almost identically in the healthcare system and the state's population, the study found.

The report was published on 21 October in Occupational Medicine.

"Our findings suggest that universal masking policy should be implemented and maintained in healthcare settings as well as within indoor businesses when physical distancing and ventilation may be inadequate," Kales added in a CHA news release.

Image credit: Getty Images

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