Scientists Assess The Effectiveness Of Distance, Masks And Glasses In The Prevention Of COVID-19

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Scientists Assess The Effectiveness Of Distance, Masks And Glasses In The Prevention Of COVID-19
Scientists Assess The Effectiveness Of Distance, Masks And Glasses In The Prevention Of COVID-19

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Video: Does Wearing a Face Covering Really Stop COVID-19? 2023, February
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Scientists assess the effectiveness of distance, masks and glasses in the prevention of COVID-19

The authors analyzed data from 172 observational and 44 comparative studies. Now we know exactly how much lower the risk of infection is if you keep a distance of one meter, wear a mask and glasses.

Scientists assess the effectiveness of distance, masks and glasses in the prevention of COVID-19
Scientists assess the effectiveness of distance, masks and glasses in the prevention of COVID-19

Photo: AETC

Keeping a distance of at least one meter, wearing masks and eye protection are effective ways to prevent COVID-19. The Lancet magazine published the largest analysis of all scientific data on these measures to prevent the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus to date. New data provides the most accurate understanding to date of how effective these tools are.

Scientists for the first time conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of measures to prevent transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. They reviewed data from 172 observational and 44 comparative studies in 16 countries. The scientific works they analyzed concerned not only COVID-19, but also other coronavirus diseases: Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Findings from nine studies involving nearly 7,800 participants demonstrated the effectiveness of maintaining distance in preventing transmission. According to their data, the probability of infection without observing a distance of one meter from an infected person is 12.8%, with a distance of one meter, the risk drops to 2.6%. Mathematical modeling shows that the preventive value can increase with increasing distance: at a distance of three meters, the risk of transmission should be halved. But the review authors note that the quality of the evidence does not allow us to accurately indicate how much better a distance of 2-3 meters will protect in real life.

Thirteen studies focused on the effectiveness of eye shields and glasses. Using them reduces the chance of infection from 16% to 5.5%.

10 studies indicated the benefits of face masks: they reduced the risk of transmission from 17.4% to 3.1%. These data mainly concerned the wearing of masks in houses and apartments in which there were cases of COVID-19. N95 respirators are better at protecting healthcare workers from COVID-19 than simple surgical masks, according to a new survey.

Scientists emphasize that all the preventive measures they investigated, even with the right combination, do not provide complete protection against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The authors also note that the quality of the evidence regarding masks and eye protection is of low quality: randomized studies of their effectiveness against COVID-19 have not yet been conducted.

The authors point out that their review provides information that is important for practice. For example, different organizations and countries provide recommendations for the prevention of COVID-19 that are conflicting and based on limited information.

“Governments and health authorities can use our findings to make clear recommendations for these measures to reduce the risk of infection,” said Professor Holger Schünemann of McMaster University in Canada, co-author of the study.

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