Tags: Coronavirus | japan | masks | virus | ppe | pandemic

Study: US Could Drop Infections by 90% With Japan Model of Mask Wearing

people wear masks as they walk down a street in tokyo
People wear masks as they walk down a street in Tokyo. (CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 10 May 2020 05:55 PM

A new study from UC Berkeley finds that if the U.S. adopted Japan’s approach to the virus, new infections would drop by over 90 percent.

Japan never implemented a nationwide lockdown as many restaurants and businesses remained open, yet they managed to keep its death rate from coronavirus at a mere two percent of that in the United States, adjusted for population.

The reason: residents practice serious social distancing in public and always wear a mask,Vanity Fair reports.

This is the conclusion of an in-depth study conducted by De Kai, an American computer scientist with joint appointments at Berkeley's International Computer Science Institute and at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Japan's miniscule death rate has been achieved even though the country has no lockdown, with subwys operating and many businesses staying open.

To a large extent, De Kai credits this low death rate to the fact that "nearly everyone there is wearing a mask." He insists his study would show that if 80% of a closed population were to wear a mask, coronavirus infection rates would plummet to about one twelfth the number of infections, compared to a live-virus population in which no one wore masks.

De Kai's straightforward solution comes as World Health Organization representatives have been less than enthusiastic about the benefit of wearing masks.

Their concerns are that many people won't wear them properly, thereby risking infection, or that the face covering will give people a false sense of security and promote unnecessary risky behavior.

However, such concerns do not appear to have played out in Japan or other East Asian societies like Hong Kong.

De Kai emphasized that his study demonstrates that 80-90% of the population must be wearing masks for the practice to work, because anything less doesn't work as well.

"If you get down to 30 or 40%, you get almost no [beneficial] effect at all," he said.

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Japan has managed to keep its death rate from coronavirus at a mere two percent of that in the United States, adjusted for population, because its residents practice social distancing in public and always wear a mask.
japan, masks, virus, ppe, pandemic
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2020-55-10
Sunday, 10 May 2020 05:55 PM
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