Largest Study of Its Kind Finds Face Masks Reduce COVID-19
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Berkeley News: Wearing face masks, particularly surgical masks, is truly effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in community settings, finds a new study led by researchers from Yale University, Stanford Medical School, the University of California, Berkeley, and the nonprofit Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA). The study, which was carried out among more than 340,000 adults living in 600 rural communities in Bangladesh, is the first randomized trial to examine the effectiveness of face masks at reducing COVID-19 in a real-world setting, where mask use may be imperfect and inconsistent.

The results show that increased mask-wearing — the result of a community-level mask distribution and in-person promotion campaign — led to a significant reduction in the percentage of people with COVID-19, based on symptom reporting and SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing. The team tested both cloth and surgical masks and found especially strong evidence that surgical masks are effective in preventing COVID-19. In the study, surgical masks prevented one in three symptomatic infections among community members 60 years and older. The findings come at a crucial time in the U.S., when many in-person events have resumed and children — including those who are under 12 and do not yet qualify for vaccination — are returning to in-person school. The full press release and study can be found at their respective links.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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