Since the beginning of the pandemic, many studies have pointed out that masks help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Most of them were laboratory or observational. Unfortunately, observational studies cannot accurately prove that masks are the reason for the decrease in the number of new cases of the disease in real life. The fact is that they may not take into account some factors that could affect the incidence. Therefore, it is difficult to interpret the data on the effect of masks.
Earlier in Denmark, a study was conducted in which half of the participants wore masks and the other did not. In it, participants from both groups were infected with coronavirus with almost the same frequency. However, this study has been criticized by many scientists.
The new study covered 600 villages in Bangladesh, which were home to more than 350,000 adults. It has yet to undergo scientific peer review. According to Gizmodo, the authors sent it for consideration for publication in the journal The science… Now it is posted on the website of the charitable organization. Innovations for Poverty Action…
Residents of half of the villages covered by the study were encouraged by scientists to wear medical masks from November 2020 to January 2021. They were given free masks (two-thirds – surgical, one-third – cloth), some villages received material incentives, the action was supported by local leaders. In the second part of the villages, no measures were taken. Villages from different groups were comparable in terms of the number and density of the population, as well as other significant parameters.
By the end of the study, 42% of residents in the first group wore masks, and 13% in the second. In settlements with a high level of wearing masks during the study, the number of people with a seven-volume form COVID-19-19 was 11% lower than in the villages from the control group. The proportion of people with antibodies against coronavirus in them was 9% lower.
Surgical masks provided more protection than cloth masks: 12% versus 5% reduction in the risk of symptoms COVID-19-19. The greatest benefit of “disguise” was given to people over 65 years old: wearing surgical masks, the incidence decreased by 35%.
Scientists noted that the effect of reducing the incidence could be associated with more than masks. People who wore them more often were also more likely to maintain social distance. The authors point out that their findings provide a strong argument against the arguments of opponents of mandatory wearing of masks, who claim that masks make people behave more carelessly.
The authors emphasize that it cannot be concluded from their research that the effectiveness of the masks is 10%. In their opinion, if more people wear them, the effect will be many times higher. They also believe that now, after the spread of the delta variant of coronavirus, wearing masks may provide more benefits than has been demonstrated in the study.