A study in The Lancet is the first review of all available evidence on how physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection affect the spread of COVID-19, SARS, and MERS in both community and healthcare settings across 16 countries.
The researchers identified 172 observational studies across 16 countries and six continents, with no randomised controlled trials and 44 relevant comparative studies in healthcare and non-healthcare settings. Their analysis came to the following conclusions:
1. Transmission of viruses was lower with physical distancing of 1 m or more, compared with a distance of less than 1 m; protection was increased as distance was lengthened
2. Face mask use could result in a large reduction in risk of infection, with stronger associations with N95 or similar respirators compared with disposable surgical masks or similar (eg, reusable 12–16-layer cotton masks)
3. Eye protection also was associated with less infection. Unadjusted studies and subgroup and sensitivity analyses showed similar findings
Sources & links
- The Lancet | Read the full paper | Link