In countries not recommending masks, the per-capita mortality tended to increase each week by 54%
Covid-19 death rates were significantly lower in countries that recommended masks be worn at the onset of outbreaks, according to a newly released study.
The study’s authors looked at Covid-19-related death rates in 198 countries, reports Barrie 360.
In countries not recommending masks, the per-capita mortality tended to increase each week by 54%.
In contrast, in countries recommending masks, the per-capita mortality tended to increase each week by just 8%.
In countries where masks were recommended within 15 days of the onset of the outbreak, the study found the mortality rate was so low that the curve was difficult to distinguish.
The study hypothesized that in countries where mask use was either an accepted cultural norm or was favored by government policies at a national level, the per-capita mortality might be less, compared with countries that did not advocate masks.
The study concluded that societal norms and government policies supporting the wearing of masks by the public, as well as international travel controls, are “independently associated with lower per-capita mortality” from Covid-19.
The conclusions are similar to a modeling study from Cambridge University that suggests population-wide use of facemasks, combined with lockdowns, could prevent further waves of the virus.
“Our analyses support the immediate and universal adoption of facemasks by the public,” wrote Dr Richard Stutt, lead researcher at Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences.
“We have little to lose from the widespread adoption of face masks, but the gains could be significant.”
Cambridge researchers suggest that a policy of total face mask adoption can still prevent a second wave.
A group of Canadian doctors and scientists is also urging lawmakers to make masks mandatory in some public spaces.
The Masks4Canada campaign is lobbying for 80% of Canadians to wear masks in public.
The World Health Organization initially advised against widespread mask wearing by the public, as did Canada and the United States.
The WHO reversed course on June 5 and recommended people wear masks in public spaces.