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Dhaka Tribune

Coronavirus: How masks save lives

Masks Save Lives claimed that masks decrease the spread of coronavirus in three ways

Update : 31 Mar 2020, 06:27 PM

Western countries are experiencing higher rates of coronavirus infections compared to Asian countries, owing to the West's aversion to wearing masks.

An organization called Masks Save Lives made this claim on their website in an article titled ‘Universal mask-wearing is the most overlooked Covid-19 lifesaver,’ and suggested everyone wear masks to help in reducing the spread of Covid-19.

Providing data from March 29, they showed that Covid-19 killed 10,778 people in Italy, 6803 in Spain, and 2475 in the United States. These three countries have a low mask-wearing culture.

Contrastingly, the virus killed 3 people in Taiwan, 54 in Japan, and 152 in South Korea. These three countries have a culture of wearing masks, especially South Korea, where it is a social norm to wear masks in public spaces.

The organization claimed that masks decrease the spread of coronavirus in three ways.

Masks decrease virus spread by infected individuals by trapping the virus particles inside the masks, preventing the virus particles from becoming airborne. This protects other people from infection.

Masks also reduce new infections as it prevents the airborne virus particles being inhaled from outside the masks.

And finally, masks help limit hand to face contact by putting a physical barrier between potentially contaminated hands and passages to one's lungs.

The United States Surgeon General and the World Health Organization have repeatedly said that masks are not effective in preventing Covid-19 spread. 

Masks Save Lives hope this “white lie” is being told so that medical professionals get the masks first.

They argued that anything that prevents aerosolized viruses from being transmitted lowers the spread of Covid-19.

Japan and Czech Republic

To prove their claims, Masks Save Lives included two examples in this regard—the situation in Japan and Czech Republic.

Despite Japan's large elderly population, who are particularly vulnerable to the virus, and early infection, their infection and death rates are one of the lowest in the world.

One of major reasons is their mask-wearing culture which has kept the spread of the virus to a manageable level.

Japan has had only 1,387 infections, even though they were one of the earliest countries to become infected.

The Czech Republic made it mandatory to wear masks while in public, starting from March 18.

There have only been 2,942 confirmed Covid-19 infections and 23 deaths, making it one of the lowest infected countries in Europe.

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