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Corona pandemic: study shows positive effects of mandatory masking

Corona pandemic: study shows positive effects of mandatory masking


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Study: Masks contribute significantly to the containment of the corona pandemic

In the meantime, several measures that have been taken to contain the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 have been relaxed again, but the so-called mask requirement still applies. And that's a good thing, because, as a new study has now shown, the masks clearly contribute to containing the corona pandemic.

In April, the so-called “mask requirement” was introduced in all federal states, which is intended to help contain infections with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. There has been and is criticism of this measure, but the majority of the population supports the obligation to wear a mask. A new study shows that this makes sense and can reduce the spread of the new virus.

The number of infections increased only slightly after the start of the mandatory mask

According to a current announcement by the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), the so-called mask requirement, i.e. the general obligation to wear mouth-nose protection, for example when shopping or on public transport, clearly contributes to containing the corona pandemic.

Scientists from four universities, including Prof. Dr. Klaus Wmerung, economist at JGU, came after comparing the development of the COVID 19 case numbers in Jena with the development in similar cities.

The mask requirement was introduced in Jena on April 6, 2020, much earlier than in all other districts and independent cities in Germany. As a result, the number of registered infections in Jena rose only slightly.

The researchers now wanted to know whether this decrease was actually due to the mask requirement or other special features.

"In order to be able to answer this question as objectively as possible, we created a kind of synthetic Jena that only introduced the mask requirement later, and compared it with the real one," explains Wammlung.

"Significant gap between case numbers"

As the researchers describe in a current discussion paper by the Research Institute for the Future of Work (IZA), they had selected from the other districts and independent cities those who followed Jena after the development of the COVID 19 case numbers by the end of March and according to certain structural features most closely matched - such as the population density, the average age of the population and the offer of doctors and pharmacies.

From the infection numbers of these cities and counties, the experts then calculated an average that could correspond to the infection numbers that Jena might have had on April 6 without the mask requirement.

"According to our calculations, there is a significant gap between the number of cases in Jena and the comparison group without a mask requirement," explains co-author Prof. Timo Mitze from the University of Southern Denmark.

Twenty days after the introduction of mandatory masks in Jena, the total number of COVID-19 cases registered there increased from 142 to 158, but in “synthetic Jena” from 143 to 205.

The increase in infections in “real” Jena thus corresponded to only about a quarter of the increase in the comparison group.

Mask requirement has contributed to slowing COVID-19 spread

In a second step, the researchers then examined the development of the COVID-19 case numbers in the cities and districts that had introduced the mandatory mask on April 22, with the number of cities and districts that only required the mask requirement on April 27 or later introduced.

There are also significant differences here. "In summary, it can be said that the introduction of mandatory masks in the respective circles has contributed to a slowdown in the spread of Covid-19," said Wmerung.

As stated in the communication, this result is in line with the assessment of epidemiologists and virologists that mouth-nose protection inhibits the air flow when speaking and thereby reduces the transmission of infectious particles.

In addition, W Felsel thinks it is possible that the masks could have a kind of signaling function for the population to adhere to the contact restrictions. "Our results suggest that a mask requirement is also a building block for the further containment of Covid-19," says the scientist. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


Video: Coronavirus Pandemic Update 78: Mask Controversy; Vaccine Update for COVID-19 (November 2022).