Research on masks in the US

Research on masks and their effectiveness is being done in the US

Research on masks in the US

To wear masks or not to wear masks has been the question of the year. As the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t seem like it’s going to stop anytime soon, the question of masks has become prominent.

It has become so important that organizations have conducted research all around the US on this topic.

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is one such organization that conducted research on masks.

This research is what you call ‘meta-analysis’. Meta-analysis is when you take every research done on the protective effects of masks and re-analyzing the data.

This research was led by Ali Mokdad and his collogues. They did the research on all the states in America. What they found in the results was this – if 95 per cent of the US population wears masks, it will reduce the transmission rate of coronavirus by 30 per cent.

Mokdad shared the widespread use of masks can be powerful in stopping the spread of coronavirus.

Even President Trump, who was Americas biggest anti-mask support, now thinks that masks are essential to save as many lives as possible.

He now refers to wear masks as being patriotic as it will help the nation recover from the lockdown and rebuild economically.

The director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, Ashish Jha, also shares that masks are not the primary strategy when the virus outbreak is so bad. But if we want to avoid complete lockdown, masks are worth a shot.

So are masks really effective?

According to Mokdad’s team, if the majority of the US population doesn’t begin wearing masks, we will have 80000 Americans die by 1st November

But if the majority of the population does start wearing masks, we can reduce the death rate and avoid 34000 of those deaths.

Mokdad’s team believes that states in which the virus outbreak is surging, people can avoid total lockdowns by massively increasing mask use. Most states will have to reimpose total lockdown when the daily deaths top eight per million people.

Texas is hitting this daily death threshold. But experts say that if 95 per cent of the people start wearing masks, they can control the death rate and hence avoid total lockdown.

Ashish Jha comments saying that if the majority of us start wearing masks, we can get some people back to work. Even though offices won’t be fully functional, at least some people can go back to work.

This will help the economy to remain open and not face complete loss. Mokdad believes that 40 per cent of Americans are wearing masks. And that achieving 95 per cent mask-wearing rate is a long way to go.

A biostatistician at the University of Florida, Natalie Dean, spoke to National Public Radio in an interview. She said that masks shouldn’t be the only solution to combat the coronavirus.

She agreed that masks are important and can be helpful. But she also agrees that other measures like social distancing, contact tracing, hygiene and others are essential to follow.