Alongside other preventive measures, wearing a face mask may help slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Different types of mask are available for people to wear during the current pandemic.
In this article, we discuss face mask research and different types of face mask. We also answer other frequently asked questions.
Currently, research suggests that the novel coronavirus spreads primarily via respiratory droplets.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people can transmit the virus to others while showing no signs or symptoms of COVID-19. A mathematical model from a 2020 study supports this, suggesting that 40–80% of transmission stems from those showing no symptoms.
Although the science around the effectiveness of face masks is not definitive, these items likely offer some protection from the coronavirus. The authors of one study concluded that surgical face masks could prevent the transmission of the coronavirus from symptomatic individuals. Other researchers also encourage the use of face masks in public.
It is possible, therefore, that widespread use of face masks by the public might help slow the spread of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that people use a simple cloth face covering when they go out. However, the WHO do not currently