A new study by University of California at San Francisco researchers found that wearing a face mask can help mitigate the severity of coronavirus cases. While healthcare experts have maintained that face coverings help protect others from your respiratory droplets, the new research shows that the wearer is also protected.
According to Fox News, donning a mask reduces the dose of virus that the wearer is exposed to, and therefore influences the severity of the disease. The authors of the study said that “universal public masking during the COVID-19 pandemic should be one of the most important pillars of disease control.” The said that there are two reasons why masks are so effective in taming the spread of COVID-19.
The first is that they prevent the spread of viral particles from people who don’t have any symptoms. New research shows that even asymptomatic people, those who have no symptoms of illness can spread the disease, according to Healthline. Secondly, face coverings reduce the viral load. or inoculum, that the mask wearer receives, which will result in milder disease.
Hong Kong scientists conducted a study on hamsters and found that two-thirds of those not protected by a face mask placed over their cages came down with the disease.
“The findings implied to the world and the public is that the effectiveness of mask-wearing against the coronavirus pandemic is huge,” said microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung of Hong Kong University, according to The Hill.
“Up to this stage, we don’t have a safe and effective vaccine. What remains is social distancing or wearing masks,” he added.
The UC San Francisco researchers have now provided even more proof and credence to the importance of wearing face coverings to contain COVID-19 and prevent severe complications.
“It’s likely that face masks, by blocking even some of the virus-carrying droplets you inhale, can reduce your risk of falling seriously ill from COVID-19,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, one of the lead researchers of the study and an infectious disease expert at UC San Francisco. “The more virus you get into your body, the sicker you are likely to get.”
According to Fox News, Gandhi added that wearing face masks that can reduce the severity of disease would also alleviate the burden on the healthcare system and increase herd immunity until a vaccine is developed.
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