A new study has provided more evidence that wearing protective masks in public will indeed help in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S.
New research has claimed that if at least 80% of Americans wore masks, COVID-19 infections would drop significantly, Vanity Fair reports.
It was just a few months ago when the World Health Organization (WHO) advised people against wearing masks unless they are a health care worker or are actually infected. In February, Surgeon General Jerome Adams was actively advising Americans not to wear masks.
Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!
They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) later made recommendations that wearing masks would actually be beneficial. Not many heeded that call as President Donald Trump notably insisted on not doing so during a briefing on the novel coronavirus in April.
Trump on why he won’t wear a face mask, even after the CDC is recommending it: “Wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens — I don’t know, somehow I just don’t see it for myself.” https://t.co/b9FtmY5sM4 pic.twitter.com/KOo31S75Ju
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 3, 2020
In the study “Universal Masking is Urgent in the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Chinese American computer scientist De Kai highlighted the urgency of taking action amid the crisis.
“I felt like this was pretty urgent,” De Kai was quoted as saying. “I saw the country where I grew up, where my family lives [now mostly in the Bay Area], about to face this pandemic without knowing much about something as simple as wearing a mask to protect themselves and others.”
De Kai and his team of researchers used artificial intelligence to determine how the virus would play out should Americans wear masks. The findings were based on complex models used by epidemiologists in tracking earlier viral outbreaks such as Ebola and SARS.
In their model, the researchers found a high level of infections in the country if the population did not wear masks. It also showed that the infection rate dropped to zero when 100% of Americans wore masks. According to De Kai, the goal has changed from 80% to 90% of people wearing masks for this to be feasible.
“If you get down to 30 or 40%, you get almost no [beneficial] effect at all,” De Kai pointed out.
Feature Image via Associated Press