Masks: How Effective Are They?

4 April 2020. Updated 16 April 2020.

The effectiveness of face masks in preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 has been much debated, but there seems to be an emerging consensus that they’re more effective than the authorities believed (or professed to believe) at the beginning of the outbreak. This is important because if masks are a bulwark against infection they could play a critical role in the exit strategy. As a general rule, those developed countries that have imposed less severe social distance measures than the UK are those with a much higher use of masks per capita, like Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

Further Reading

Face masks: much more than you wanted to know‘ by Scott Alexander, Slate Star Codex, March 23rd 2020

Everyone Thinks They’re Right About Masks‘ by Ed Yong, The Atlantic, April 1st 2020

Data suggests masks matter, tests don’t‘ by John Hinderaker, Powerline, April 6th 2020

Face Masks Against COVID-19: An Evidence Review‘, Jeremy Howard et al., preprints.org, April 12th 2020

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