Why We Wear Masks

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Due to rising Covid-19 cases, many cities and states across the nation have moved to mandate mask wearing in public settings. Mask wearing can be an effective strategy to reduce the transmission of Covid-19 particles. However, social distancing with mask wearing is the most effective strategy to reduce the spread.

Based on research and scientific models from UC Berkley’s International Computer Science Institute and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, wearing masks can cut the incidence of cases by as much as 80%.

In New York, the daily new infection rate dropped by 3% per day after a policy requiring that people wear face masks or coverings in public took effect, the researchers found.  Overall, the researchers estimated that requirements related to face masks and coverings “significantly reduced the number of infections … by over 78,000 in Italy from April 6 to May 9 and over 66,000 in New York City from April 17 to May 9.”

However, the plan hinges on widespread support and unified engagement, like what is seen in Japan, Hong Kong and other global locations, where mask-wearing is the norm. “If you get down to 30 or 40% [of people wearing masks], you get almost no [beneficial] effect at all.”

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