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Mask wearing reduces COVID-19 incidence by 53%, study shows

According to a new peer reviewed study in the British Medical Journal, mask wearing cuts the number of COVID-19 infections by 53 percent. The study also found that physical distancing reduced incidence by 25 percent.

“This systematic review and meta analysis [of non-pharmaceutical interventions] suggests that several personal protective and social measures, including handwashing, mask wearing, and physical distancing are associated with reductions in the incidence of covid-19,” the study says.

The study analyzed evidence from 72 global studies that looked at non-pharmaceutical public health measures. Among all the measures, mask wearing was shown to be most effective at reducing the incidence of COVID-19 by 53 percent. Handwashing was found to reduce incidence by 53 percent as well, and physical distancing, 25 percent. 

Researchers also noted that in light of new variants, the vaccines do not offer 100 percent protection, even though they are considered safe and effective. “Public health efforts to implement public health measures should consider community health and sociocultural needs, and future research is needed to better understand the effectiveness of public health measures in the context of covid-19 vaccination.”

Many cities, including Washington, D.C., are increasingly loosening their masking requirements while citing vaccine efficacy, but some doctors are saying the relaxed rules might be coming too soon.

Mask mandates in the U.S. have brought on several protests and been a hot topic for politicians to take up. Mask-related disputes have even led to several violent altercations, some lethal. Several states have also put legislation in place to prevent local officials from instituting their own rules requiring masks. 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: AXIOS

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