Medical / Technology / Education feed
A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that face masks can protect against COVID-19. There is, however, limited rigorous evidence on the extent to which mask-wearing is effective in reducing COVID-19 in a real-life situation with imperfect and inconsistent mask use. In Bangladesh, researchers and IPA partnered with Bangladeshi policymakers and a local NGO to design and evaluate various strategies to increase mask-wearing and assess the impact of community mask-wearing on SARS-CoV-2 infection rates. They found that a four-part intervention (the “NORM model”) tripled mask usage (a 29- percentage-point increase), and increased physical distancing by 5 percentage points. Further, this increase in mask-wearing reduced symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections. When surgical masks were employed, 1 in 3 symptomatic infections were avoided for individuals 60+ years old, the age group that faces the highest risk of death following infection. This was the first large-scale randomized evaluation to demonstrate the effectiveness of masks in a real-world setting. Read the full paper here.