• Masks against COVID-19: Research supports universal adoption
Spatial distancing and personal face mask use could help to create a safer environment for the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions around the world according a comment published in The Lancet by Professor Raina MacIntyer. These comments address the World Health Organisation (WHO) commissioned review by Chu et al. which analysed all available studies on SARS, MERS, CoV and SARS CoV-2. 

The World Health Organisation's research showed an 82% reduction in risk with one meter of physical distance between people in both healthcare and community settings, with each additional meter of separation doubling the relative protection. This evidence supports the current Australian Government recommendations for maintaining a physical distance of 1.5 meters from others as we move to lift restrictions and safely resume business and social activities in Australia.
Professor MacIntyre added in her research that the spread of COVID-19 can be further reduced using face masks. This research reported that masks and respirators reduce the risk of infection by 85% in both health care and community settings. Professor MacIntyre states that "when you are out and about you cannot tell who is infected and who is not, you yourself may be infected and not know it. Especially with the growing evidence of pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission". Although in countries like Australia that have low prevalence and face mask use is not mandated or widely recommended yet unless on public transport, it may be considered in the future with the return of large public gatherings around Christmas and New Years. 

Professor MacIntyre concludes that "there is no foolproof method for reducing risk to zero, but this is the best evidence we have to date on these specific coronaviruses. The most important message from this study is that no single intervention on its own is 100% effective, but we can combine distancing, mask use and other inventions"

For more information, read the full article here.

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