HealthWearing facemasks effective in slowing COVID-19 spread, study confirms

Wearing facemasks effective in slowing COVID-19 spread, study confirms

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Amarachi Okeh

A new study has found that wearing facemasks remained very effective in slowing down the spread of COVID-19.

The study which involved over 340,000 participants, according to the researchers, is the strongest real-life evidence that the use of facemasks can slow the spread of coronavirus.

The study conducted across 600 villages in rural Bangladesh, as reported by NBC NEWS, is the largest randomised trial that demonstrates the effectiveness of facemasks.

The research was led by Kwong Jason Abaluck and Mushfiq Mobarak from Yale University, and Steve Luby and Ashley Styczynski from Stanford University.

According to the NBC report, for five months beginning from last November, Mobarak and his colleagues tracked 342,126 adult Bangladeshis in randomly selected villages to roll out programmes to promote their usage, which included distributing free masks to households, providing information about their importance and reinforcing their use in the community.

“Among the roughly 178,000 individuals who were encouraged to wear them, the scientists found that mask-wearing increased by almost 30 per cent and that the change in behaviour persisted for 10 weeks or more.

“After the program was instituted, the researchers reported an 11.9 per cent decrease in symptomatic COVID symptoms and a 9.3 per cent reduction in symptomatic seroprevalence, which indicates that the virus was detected in blood tests,” the report says.

Reacting to the study, a professor of Medical Microbiology in the Department of Microbiology, Lagos State University, Bola Oyefolu, reiterated that adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures, especially the wearing of masks remained very important to curb the spread of the virus.

“I would suggest that the government should put more effort in creating awareness on the protective measures like wearing the mask, washing hands and the use of bleach to clean surfaces as they help reduce the spread of the virus.”

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