If more Americans wore masks the pandemic would slow, experts say
A cultural shift among Americans to adopt mass mask wearing would be one of the simplest and most effective ways to curb further devastation from the coronavirus pandemic, according to public health experts.
New Covid-19 infections are surging across much of the US, with 2.6 million people now confirmed to have had the virus.
The true figure of infection is probably much higher, at around 20 million, with Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), warning on Monday that “we have way too much virus across the country for that right now” and that it was “wishful thinking” to expect the pandemic to peter out over the summer.
States that reopened businesses early when case numbers were relatively low, such as Texas and Florida, have been forced to reimpose restrictions on bars and restaurants to slow a huge spike in infections. Such seesawing lockdowns could be largely avoided, experts say, if Americans embraced near-universal mask wearing.
More than 30,000 deaths could be avoided by October if 95% of Americans wear face masks in public, according to research by the University of Washington. Even homemade masks act as a barrier to potentially infected droplets that are expelled when people cough, talk or breathe.
“Masks are incredibly important,” said Krystal Pollitt, an assistant professor at the Yale School of Public Health. “The airborne transmission of the virus is increasingly of concern and masks are an effective way to prevent that. The more we learn about this virus, the ...
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