New study by researchers at the University of Hong Kong shows that surgical masks prevent the spread of coronavirus
Contrary to what health officials in the U.S. are telling the public, a new study by researchers at the University of Hong Kong found that wearing surgical masks prevent spread of virus and significantly reduce the transmission of coronavirus. The study, which was published today in Nature Medicine, found that surgical face masks significantly reduced detection of influenza virus RNA in respiratory droplets and coronavirus RNA in aerosols, with a trend toward reduced detection of coronavirus RNA in respiratory droplets
Their results indicate that surgical face masks could prevent transmission of human coronaviruses and influenza viruses from symptomatic individuals. However, here in the United States, the debate among public officials over mask wearing still rages on. Just yesterday, CDC and FDA said wearing masks may give many people a “false sense of security.”
According to the study, the team screened 3,363 individuals in two study phases, ultimately enrolling 246 individuals who provided exhaled breath samples (Extended Data Fig. 1). Among these 246 participants, 122 (50%) participants were randomized to not wearing a face mask during the first exhaled breath collection and 124 (50%) participants were randomized to wearing a face mask. Overall, 49 (20%) voluntarily provided a second exhaled breath collection of the alternate type.
“The primary outcome of the study was virus generation rate in tidal breathing of participants infected by different respiratory viruses and the efficacy of face masks in preventing virus dissemination in exhaled breath, separately considering the respiratory droplets and aerosols. The secondary outcomes were correlation between viral shedding in nose swabs, throat swabs, respiratory droplets and aerosols and factors affecting viral shedding in respiratory droplets and aerosols,” the team said.