ALEXANDRIA, VA – Health experts say that wearing a mask can stop the spread of COVID-19. Now studies prove their words are accurate.
An analysis of 20 studies, available on thinkglobalhealth.org, and conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, finds that if 95 percent of U.S. citizens wore masks, infections would drop by two-thirds. Deaths would drop by one-third.
An NPR infographic shows that if one person chooses not to wear a mask, that decision can endanger 89 people. With a mask, the number drops to 23. While that number is significantly lower, the reason for it is because asymptomatic people can transmit the coronavirus.
Virginia is one state where residents are using masks regularly – with a governor’s order to wear them indoors. Other states include Maine, New York, and Massachusetts. Still, the percentage of people wearing masks is only 50 to 60 percent.
The University of Washington analysis indicates that wearing masks can prevent future lockdowns and aid in rebuilding the economy. But it recognizes the fear that Blacks and/or other people of color may have of wearing one because of racial profiling.
It shares that unlike in Europe and Canada, the idea of wearing a mask in America has become politicized.
While considerable controversy exists, the analysis concludes that using a mask is “one of the best tools available” for preventing the spread of COVID-19.