The World Health Organization (WHO) has several times revealed that the usage of face masks and maintaining social distancing are the best ways to stay protected from coronavirus infection. But now, a new study conducted by Danish researchers has suggested that face masks are not effective in protecting people from COVID-19.
Face masks ineffective in COVID spread; Danish study challenges WHO guidelines
The novel coronavirus that originated from Wuhan has already claimed the lives of more than 1.8 million people worldwide and so far wearing face masks and maintaining social distance has been deemed necessary to prevent spread of the virus.
Face masks ineffective?
The new study named 'The Danmask-19' trial was carried out with more than 3,000 participants. Researchers carried out this study during the last spring when the usage of face masks was not mandatory in the country. Unlike other studies that analyzed the effectiveness of face masks, this research conducted by experts from Denmark was a randomized controlled trial which means it is high-quality scientific evidence.
During the study, researchers made 1,500 people wear surgical face masks, and they were asked to change it every eight hours. After one month, researchers conducted coronavirus tests on all the 3,000 participants. Surprisingly, researchers did not find any significant difference between the coronavirus contraction rate among mask users and non-maskers.
The results showed that 1.8 percent of mask users were contracted with coronavirus. On the other hand, 2.3 percent of non-maskers were also infected with COVID-19.
It should be noted that the only trials which have shown masks to be effective at stopping airborne diseases were observational studies in which researchers observe people who ordinarily use masks, rather than attempting to create a randomized control group. As this new study is based on a randomized control group, scientists are in a dilemma whether to advocate face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Coronavirus: Latest statistics
It is been one year that the first coronavirus case in the world was reported in Wuhan, China. This deadly pandemic which originated from a seafood market has affected more than 50 million people worldwide, and the death toll has already crossed 1.8 million.
In countries like the United States, coronavirus has started surging again, and experts believe that this recent third wave could turn deadly when compared to the first two outbreaks. In the meantime, several medical companies including Pfizer are on the verge of developing an effective vaccine against this pandemic.