Masks can limit the severity of coronavirus cases, researchers at the University of California at San Francisco said in a paper published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Although face coverings are more effective in preventing droplets from being expelled into the air than in preventing droplets from being breathed in, masks may still be able to mitigate the severity of a disease that an individual gets if infected with COVID-19, the researchers explained in the release.
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“Face masks, by blocking even some of the virus-carrying droplets you inhale, are likely to reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-1
Based on the researchers’ epidemiological observations, Gandhi and his colleagues suggest in the paper that masks can lead to milder or asymptomatic infections by reducing the amount of viruses people breathe.
“Masks, depending on [the] like, it filters out most, but not all, viral particles, “the researchers said in the published report.
The notion of viral dose or viral inoculum was incorporated into the first smallpox vaccines in the 16th century in China, where small amounts of the virus were injected into a healthy person to create mild disease followed by immunity. He was also involved with the influenza A virus, in which healthy volunteers who received a higher dose of the influenza A virus had more severe symptoms, the release said.
The study authors attribute facial masks to contribute to lower mortality rates and milder cases with the most recent wave of COVID-19 infections, along with better treatments, more tests, and younger patients, according to the press release. However, more data is needed to track cases geographically and correlate severity with mask use.
Rates of serious illness are lowest in countries like Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea, where the use of face masks was already socially acceptable, according to the release.
“We’re also saying that masks, which filter out most of the viral particles, can lead to less severe infections if you get one,” Gandhi said in the press release. “If you get infected but have no symptoms, this is the best way to get a virus.”
The release found a hamster study in which a surgical mask separated COVID-19 and uninfected hamster cages. The mask was found to reduce coronavirus transmission, while hamsters who had contracted SARS-CoV-2 developed milder symptoms, according to the report.
Gandhi said the viral dose could be another factor regarding the prognosis of the virus based on two coronavirus outbreaks on cruise ships, according to the release. The first SARS-CoV-2 outbreak on the Diamond Princess outside of China 18% of the 634 COVID-19 positive passengers were asymptomatic. In the other case, in March aboard an Argentine cruise ship, 81% of the 128 people who tested positive were asymptomatic, according to the release.
The main difference, according to Gandhi, was that passengers on the Argentine ship were provided with surgical masks and N95 masks for staff as soon as a passenger with COVID-19 was detected.
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There have been similar findings in food processing plants, according to the researchers. About 95% of 124 infected employees were asymptomatic at an Oregan seafood processing plant, while nearly 95% of 481 COVID-19 positive employees were asymptomatic at a Tyson chicken processing plant in Arkansas where masks were worn. .
Wearing face masks could lead to less severe cases of COVID-19 that would put less of a burden on the health system and perhaps increase herd immunity when a potential vaccine is developed, Gandhi said in the statement.