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Can wearing a mask be really useful against COVID-19? Science provides the first evidence.
Can wearing a mask be really useful against COVID-19? On May 20, 2021, Science magazine published a blockbuster article by Max Planck Institute, which is highly recommended; it is the first to prove that wearing a surgical mask can prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
There is no retrospective evidence-based medical research on the effectiveness of masks so far, so we don’t know the true role of masks. It just so happened that the results of this research came out.
Every time masks are mentioned, many people say that common sense tells us that masks definitely protect us from respiratory infections. But I often tell my non-medical professionals: the integration of evidence-based medicine methods, epidemiology and medical statistics into medicine is an important reason why medicine has changed from non-science to science. Therefore, “experience” without evidence-based medicine cannot be used as a scientific conclusion.
This research from the Max Planck Institute in Germany and the Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences has answered many long-standing questions.
Droplets and aerosols are important ways for respiratory viruses to spread.
Infected people generally exhale 3e6 virus particles every 30 minutes, and surgical masks can roughly prevent people from exhaling or inhaling 1e6 particles. Although masks are an effective preventive measure for respiratory infections, their effectiveness in mitigating the spread of SARS-CoV-2 is still controversial.
This study proves that the effectiveness of wearing a mask to prevent SARS-CoV-2 depends on the amount of virus in the transmission process, the probability of individual infection in the population, the virus transmission coefficient and the type of mask. The viral load of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 has great individual differences, and different patients can vary by several orders of magnitude.
In most cases, the amount of virus in the environment is limited, so wearing a surgical mask can be very effective in preventing viruses.
In the case of high levels of environmental viruses, generally in medical institutions, it is necessary to wear high-level protective masks such as N95 or FFP2 to effectively prevent viruses. For example, in a square cabin hospital, wearing a mask can reduce the virus particles exhaled by patients by about 10 times.
In addition, masks are more effective when used together with increased ventilation and increased social distancing.
Decades later, when mankind re-examined the absurd decision-making in the COVID-19 plague, European and American countries’ decision to delay wearing masks will definitely be at the forefront.
Regarding the issue that many people in Europe and the United States initially refused to wear masks, in addition to the cultural differences in wearing masks, the most important point is that there is no evidence-based medical evidence for wearing masks to prevent COVID-19.
In our opinion, wearing a mask to prevent respiratory diseases is common sense.
However, previous studies have indeed shown that ordinary people wearing masks cannot prevent respiratory diseases such as influenza.
[Nature] The COVID-19 epidemic shattered only “evidence-based medicine”. In the encounter, where does the basis for clinical diagnosis and treatment come from?
It was her who made Europeans and Americans put on masks again. After the COVID-19 virus killed more than 1.1 million people, European and American scholars with the right to speak began to rethink the application of evidence-based medicine
Although humans need to break through the limitations of evidence-based medicine in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, rigorous scientific research is still essential for humans to transform common sense into knowledge.
(source:internet, reference only)