Science shows the benefits of masks

By letter to the editor on July 10, 2021.

Editor:
In response to Mr Baiton’s letter to the editor of July 7 titled “Mask Mandates Triggered by Fear, Not Science,” I assume he is referring to a review article published by authors at the Chicago School of Public Health in July 2020. It was a year ago and shortly after that the pandemic really took off. On July 16, 2020, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota published the following about this article: “The authors and CIDRAP have received requests in recent weeks to remove this article from the website of CIDRAP. The reasons are as follows: (1) we don’t really know that cloth masks (face coverings) are not effective because the data is so limited, (2) wearing a cloth mask or face covering is preferable to doing nothing, (3) the article is used by individuals and groups to support wearing without a mask when mandatory, and (4) there are now numerous modeling studies suggesting that cloth masks or Face covers could be effective in flattening the curve and preventing many cases of infection. Again, that was another year ago. Much data has been collected and analyzed since then. For example, in a peer-reviewed scientific publication by J. Howard and associates of the University of San Francisco published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS January 26, 2021 118 (4) e2014564118; https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2014564118 they conclude:
“The preponderance of evidence indicates that mask wear reduces contact transmissibility by reducing the transmission of infected respiratory particles in laboratory and clinical settings. Wearing a public mask is most effective in reducing the spread of the virus when compliance is high. Given the current shortage of medical masks, we recommend the adoption of the wearing of public sheet masks, as an effective form of source control, in conjunction with existing hygiene, distancing and contact tracing strategies. … .. We recommend that public officials and governments strongly encourage the use of widespread face masks in public, including the use of appropriate regulations. “
For those interested, there are many other peer-reviewed scientific articles that can be found using Google Scholar.
Just by searching for “COVID Face Masks,” Google Scholar has provided 2,500 peer-reviewed articles published since 2020 to browse. It’s science, not fear!
Marc Goettel
Lethbridge

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About Mark A. Tomlin

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