The two-meter rule of social distancing was arbitrary and unsupported by science

Research on how well different types of masks and face coverings protect against the coronavirus has evolved differently, but experts and politicians have generally tended to the idea that the chance of some protection is better than none.

In the UK, face coverings were first made mandatory for public transport in June and later for shops and other indoor spaces in July.

So far, studies have shown whether masks work:

FACE MASKS LOWER VIRUS R RATE (JANUARY 2021)

Researchers at Boston University in the United States found that wearing face masks is an effective way to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The study, published in the journal Lancet Digital Health, found that a 10 percent increase in self-reported mask wear was linked to a threefold increase in the likelihood of keeping the R-number – the number of others anyone would infect with coronavirus – below 1.

Study co-author Ben Rader of Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston University said, “A key finding from this research is that wearing masks is not a substitute for physical distancing.”

DROPS OF INFECTION WILL STILL SLIDE THROUGH (DECEMBER 2020)

Scientists at New Mexico State University in the United States found that wearing a cloth mask may not fully protect the user from the coronavirus as infected droplets can slip through, but that would significantly reduce the number.

“Wearing a mask provides significant, but not complete, protection for a susceptible person,” said Dr. Krishna Kota, associate professor at the university who led the research.

The study found that while all masks kept at least 95 percent of the droplets from coughing and sneezing, there was still a risk of the disease being transmitted.

A MASK ‘WILL ALWAYS BE BETTER THAN NOTHING’ (DECEMBER 2020)

Research from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and California Baptist University in the United States found that wearing a used three-layer surgical mask can reduce the number of small droplets released into the air by two-thirds.

Co-author Dr. Jinxiang Xi said, “It is natural to think that wearing a mask, whether new or old, should always be better than nothing.

“Our results show that this assumption only applies to particles larger than five micrometers, but not to fine particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers.”

MASK WEARERS MAY CATCH THE SAME VIRUSES (NOVEMBER 2020)

A study by the Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark found that face masks may offer the wearer only limited protection against Covid infection.

The researchers found that there was no statistically significant difference in the number of people who contacted the virus in a group with masks in public compared to a group who did not.

The study was carried out in April and May when the Danish authorities did not recommend wearing face covers.

MASK LEADS TO A THOUSAND LESS HOUSE DROPS (AUGUST 2020)

Research from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland has found that fabric face masks are effective at reducing the amount of droplets spread by coughing or sneezing.

The results suggest that a person standing two meters away from someone who coughs without a mask will be exposed to 10,000 times more droplets than someone standing half a meter away wearing a simple single-layer mask.

Professor Paul Digard of the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute said, “The simple message from our research is that face masks work.

“Wearing face-covering reduces the chances that someone who is unwittingly infected with the virus will pass it on.”

N95 MEDICAL MASKS CAN PREVENT 99% OF THE SPREAD (AUGUST 2020)

A study by Duke University in North Carolina, USA found that N95 masks are the most effective masks at reducing the spread of Covid-19.

The study, published in Science Advances, looked at 14 types of face coverings.

Co-author Dr. Eric Westman said, “If everyone was wearing a mask, we could stop up to 99 percent of these droplets before they hit someone else.

“In the absence of a vaccine or antiviral drug, this is the only proven way to protect others and yourself.”

SURGICAL COVERS AS GOOD AS N95 MASKS (MARCH 2020)

An Oxford University study published March 30th last year concluded that surgical face masks are as effective at preventing respiratory infections as N95 respirators for doctors, nurses and other health care workers.

N95 respirators are made of thick, tightly woven and molded material that sits snugly over the face and can stop 95 percent of all airborne particles, while surgical masks are thinner, looser, and more porous.

Oxford analysis of previous studies – which has not yet been peer-reviewed – found that surgical masks were worth wearing, but any face mask is only as good as other health and hygiene practices.

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