Major Study Finds Good Evidence for Masks and Distancing in Stopping COVID-19

June 3, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce

Last modified June 4, 2020

A systematic review and meta-analysis discussed in this article found that non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as physical distancing of more than about 3 feet and wearing a medical mask and eye goggles, may be associated with reductions in COVID-19 transmission.

Both face masks and eye protection could be associated with reduction in risk of infection, although the evidence for both was low certainty.

Overall, 29 unadjusted studies found “a strong association” between proximity and risk of infection, including six studies on COVID-19, with “moderate certainty.” For face mask versus no face mask, 29 unadjusted studies and 10 adjusted studies found a “large reduction in risk of infection,” although with “low certainty.” Eye protection, such as face shield and goggles, was associated with reduced risk versus no eye protection in 13 unadjusted studies, but with “low certainty.”

The study’s main limitation was that none of these were randomized trials, and may have suffered from recall and measurement bias.

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