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NEW YORK, NY – A new study released by a group of 12 researchers hailing out of universities from around the globe suggests that the wearing of face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic had little to no impact upon preventing the spread of the virus.
Published by the Cochrane Library, the study consisted of the results of 78 randomized controlled trials to determine if “physical interventions,” such as wearing face masks and washing hands, served as an effective means of curbing the spread of COVID-19.
Based on the results of the study, the researchers claim that the wearing of medical/surgical masks – when compared to wearing no masks at all – made little difference in terms of preventing COVID infection.
“Wearing a mask may make little to no difference in how many people caught a flu-like illness/COVID-like illness (nine studies; 276,917 people); and probably makes little or no difference in how many people have flu/COVID confirmed by a laboratory test (six studies; 13,919 people),” the study reads.
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The researchers also tested the differences between wearing medical/surgical masks to N95 respirators, and again said that there was little impact upon infection rates.
“Wearing N95/P2 respirators probably makes little to no difference in how many people have confirmed flu (five studies; 8407 people); and may make little to no difference in how many people catch a flu-like illness (five studies; 8407 people), or respiratory illness (three studies; 7799 people),” the study claimed.
However, Dr. Marc Siegel – professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center – noted the potential flaw of the study’s testing model, saying that, “The researchers focus primarily on randomized trials, but most of the studies that have been done on masks are population studies [which provide better “real world” results]. There are very few randomized trials on masks.”
The study also admits that the researchers did encounter some limitations upon their testing methods and that there was a risk of bias, such as the low amount of people who steadfastly follow mask-wearing guidance.