This photo shows an experiment that tests the effectiveness of face masks in preventing airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Photo: The Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo via REUTERS
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Japanese researchers show masks do block coronavirus, but not entirely

67 Comments
By Rocky Swift

Japanese researchers have shown that masks can offer protection from airborne coronavirus particles, but even professional-grade coverings can't eliminate contagion risk entirely.

Scientists at the University of Tokyo built a secure chamber with mannequin heads facing each other. One head, fitted with a nebulizer, simulated coughing and expelled actual coronavirus particles. The other mimicked natural breathing, with a collection chamber for viruses coming through the airway.

A cotton mask reduced viral uptake by the receiver head by up to 40% compared to no mask. An N95 mask, used by medical professionals, blocked up to 90%. However, even when the N95 was fitted to the face with tape, some virus particles still sneaked in.

When a mask was attached to the coughing head, cotton and surgical masks blocked more than 50% of the virus transmission.

"There was a synergistic effect when both the virus receiver and virus spreader wore masks," the researchers wrote in a study published on Wednesday.

There has been a growing consensus among health experts that the COVID-19 virus can be spread through the air. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its guidance this month to say the pathogen can linger in the air for hours.

A separate team of Japanese researchers used supercomputer simulations to show that humidity can have a significant effect on the airborne dispersion of virus particles.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

67 Comments
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No way abenomask is da best...

6 ( +11 / -5 )

N95 masks block the virus best at 75% but the masks are not available to general public but to doctors and medical organizations. Though the masks do not guard 100% but when both wear masks, people are very safe.

-3 ( +11 / -14 )

Good to see some real hard evidence that mask usage can stop the spread of the Corona virus. But I fear some will say that since the number is not 100%, then what is the point, they are not as effective as everybody claimed.

24 ( +29 / -5 )

An important thing is that inhaling some viruses do not automatically means you will get infected. The more virus enter the body the more likely it gets to develop an infection. So a reduction of 50% on the number of viruses can still mean a reduction of more than 50% of the infections.

Still it would have been interesting to see the reduction when both mannequins were breathing naturally, A cough is quite obvious and people with common sense will try to keep their distance from someone obviously sick with or without masks, but how about someone that is apparently healthy? hopefully the numbers are much higher.

And obviously these results require that the masks are being used properly. If the receiver mannequin had its mask below the nose (as too many people do) I can bet there is no reduction at all.

26 ( +27 / -1 )

I wonder if they'll remove the "This product is an ear loop mask, this product is not a respirator and will not provide any protections against COVID-19 (coronavirus) and other viruses or contaminants." disclaimer from mask boxes so that, you know, people might stop thinking the masks are just an outward display to the public that you're doing something....

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Thanks for the research, however I still won't wear one.

-37 ( +6 / -43 )

Who doubted it? Just look at how many people died of COVID in Japan vs the other countries were people scream that it goes against their "freedom". So wear your mask and enjoy life!

13 ( +18 / -5 )

I’ve been staring all along that masks are ineffective against blocking any kind of virus. Schools in Japan make students and teachers wear them to stop the spread of the flu, but every year most schools have 30-50% of the students and faculty catch the flu. Wearing a mask woos most wearers into a false sense of security and they skip the basics like washing their hands regularly and staying a good distance from others.

A mask creates the perfect environment for a virus to thrive. Plenty of fresh air, moisture and warmth. People are constantly touching the mask and then they scratch there eyes. Boom! They have the flu! Human saliva is antibacterial. The hairs in your noise are designed to trap and kill viruses. That is why exhaling through your nose feels hotter. If you want to avoid catching any virus, wash your hands properly with soap as regularly as you can, use hand sanitizer, keep your distance and keep your fingers out of your eyes and nose.

-25 ( +10 / -35 )

Interesting experiment, and of course it prompts questions for more information.

A cotton mask reduced viral uptake by the receiver head by up to 40% compared to no mask. 

I'm wondering if the uptake was measured through mouth and nose only, or included other areas of the head. For example, would wearing glasses in addition to a mask reduce the uptake further?

On the spreader side, I'd be interested to know about the accumulation of the virus on the mask over time. I've always assumed that if you are infected, the longer you wear a mask the greater risk you present over time. What is the difference when talking or coughing having worn a mask for 3 minutes versus 3 hours?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Do note that reduction of viral particles also means reduction in viral load which can give the body more chance to better response should an infection happen.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

but every year most schools have 30-50% of the students and faculty catch the flu.

Absolute poppycock.

Did you read the article that you are commenting on?

19 ( +21 / -2 )

@El Rata

The mask is not for you, but to protect people from you.

24 ( +28 / -4 )

well done Japan researchers and scientist ! anyway need not to show the result to the americans, Freedom will give them superpower and protect them from the virus

9 ( +15 / -6 )

The title isn't really appropriated to this column, no need to mention everybody knows about it. Mask to mask can block x2 and better to every people wear mask, I don't want to see a selfish face of "I don't care" and others will think "it served you" when he is infected.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

And what about those little plastic mouth guards that Aso and the TV tarentos like to wear? How effective are those?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@Do the hustle

I disagree with most of your comments, but this time I do agree.

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

I’ve been staring all along that masks are ineffective against blocking any kind of virus. 

Based on what research?

9 ( +15 / -6 )

What about my various designer masks?  How about the silk ones?

More research needed.....

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

This is a controlled environment experiment, which is good as a baseline but it isn't really that good at predicting outcomes at a community transition level.

The results of this study are kind of obvious by themselves, obviously if you have any type of physical barrier you will have to some degree a reduction in particles, but this not the kind of research that is needed right now, since it really doesn't represent the real world.

What is needed right now is a randomized controlled trial that test masks vs no masks.

In fact, there is one already, NCT04337541, which was already completed, but even thou the trial was highly regarded and quoted in the recruiting phase, has been unable to publish their results because, and I paraphrase one of the authors, the journals are afraid of the consequences of publishing the results.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

But I fear some will say that since the number is not 100%, then what is the point, they are not as effective as everybody claimed.

just like helmets protect riders and seat belts protect passengers, the statistics dont lie. far safer to wear one than not

Thanks for the research, however I still won't wear one.

recalcitrant pride doesn't make you either tough or smart, a virus will infect you all the same, hopefully you wont infect somebody in your family that is a high risk of infection and death. good luck thats about all youve got.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

I have a me a pack of N95 mask and a p100 mask including a 3M gas mask that blocks all.

Only time I use my N95 is when i need go to the doctor for medical checkups and I wear my gas mask on the trains with a face shield despite how crowded the train is.

Did they test it the mask wont prevent the coronoa virus from entering your eyes?

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

My research suggests wear one, other shoppers fills comfortable.

Also use the hand dispensers, it free.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Schools in Japan make students and teachers wear them to stop the spread of the flu, but every year most schools have 30-50% of the students and faculty catch the flu

Utter nonsense. Where did you get these numbers from?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Thanks for the research, however I still won't wear one.

> I’ve been staring all along that masks are ineffective against blocking any kind of virus

Dear God, have mercy of these people.. facepalm

10 ( +15 / -5 )

Thanks to others for wearing mask. My chance of getting infected is reduced.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

There have been other researches how covid-19 particles and droplets spread inside diner, restaurants, trains and so on. Masks reduce the intakes.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Did they measure the amount of micro fiber inhaled from the mask?

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

looks like its a common sense already that doesnt need a research. but anyway otsukaresama

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The ridiculousness of this 'experiment' being 'news' cannot be overstated.

Note, I'm not saying masks are ineffective. In fact, masks are very effective.

But this 'experiment' has been done before, numerous times in numerous countries other than Japan. In fact, it's not even considered an 'experiment' any longer, more of a PR demonstration. It's an 'experiment' on the level of an elementary school science fair, minus the electronics used to give numbers. Even within Japan, I remember a wide show segment a few years ago showing the effectiveness of masks on transmission in a subway car using ultraviolet light. Of course, the response by the tarento panel was "EEEEEEHHHHHHHH," but it was still done.

So how is this considered 'news'? This is considered an 'experiment' by the highest level school in Japan, the mighty Todai?

Again, it's an experiment on the level of an elementary school science fair. The only question I have is, how many millions of yen were spent during this course of this experiment?

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Masks to block, but not perfectly. That is why we also have social distancing.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

RE: N95 masks not available outside hospital personnel is "fake news"

IF in stock are readily sold at workers clothing stores across Japan. I just bought 5 of them for the family. Plenty of stock so no need to rush and buy everything.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@El Rata

The mask is not for you, but to protect people from you.

I believe that is precisely the reason some people do not use the masks, because they are incapable of having even a small inconvenience for the sake of anybody but themselves, its easy to identify them because their usual defense is that if it is not illegal then there is no meaning in doing something, be it wearing a mask, washing their hands, using deodorant, etc.

This is a controlled environment experiment, which is good as a baseline but it isn't really that good at predicting outcomes at a community transition level.

But it is better than nothing, as more than what we have for isolation, washing hands, not talking etc. Good enough data to keep the recommendation for using masks as part of the hygienic measures meant to prevent spreading. At least until more data may possibly disprove them.

What is needed right now is a randomized controlled trial that test masks vs no masks.

Or washing hands vs not doing it, or keeping other people at some distance. But until we have those trials the safest bet is to keep the hygienic recommendations as they are now, since epidemiologically they seem to work and the limited experimental data still supports them.

In fact, there is one already, NCT04337541, which was already completed, but even thou the trial was highly regarded and quoted in the recruiting phase, has been unable to publish their results because, and I paraphrase one of the authors, the journals are afraid of the consequences of publishing the results.

Having biorxiv available for preprints this sounds more like a bad excuse than a real reason. Scientists do not depend on journals anymore to let other people know their results, their actual use if (supposedly) a good peer review system and collect IF points to get a better position in the future, but since most journals have no problem accepting papers already made available as a preprint anybody can do both things without problem.

The most frequent reason to avoid publishing something even as a preprint is that the results are not what they wanted to find or the methodologies used to "prove" their conclusions are too obviously flawed.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

One head, fitted with a nebulizer, simulated coughing and expelled actual coronavirus particles. 

I would love to see the junior high school level science experiments in Japan.

 it's an experiment on the level of an elementary school science fair.

Anyway, elementary level or not, this has to be done because even though it seems obvious and common sense, many people can't visualize how masks can help

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Well done Japan. Japan tech saving lives.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

@Do the hustle

Your conclusion from this research is that masks don't work? What's it like seeing the world in black and white?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Japanese researchers show masks do block coronavirus, but not entirely

uhhhh, what's the date on this article? April-May? or Oct-Nov?

Thank you for telling us these things many of us found out about 3-4 months ago.

What is this? a 6 month lesson review?

Now, how about you guys work on some NEW information and NEW solutions?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

2 dummies inside a vacuum doesn't exactly sound very scientific to me.

The Danes have concluded the most comprehensive study yet. Over 9000 participants last summer took part in a randomized controlled mask study. Its been concluded and the results were supposed to have been made public in August. When asked when they would be, the lead investigator replied; "As soon as a journal is brave enough to accept the paper".

It seems the powers that be didn't dig what it had to say...

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

The Danes have concluded the most comprehensive study yet. Over 9000 participants last summer took part in a randomized controlled mask study. Its been concluded and the results were supposed to have been made public in August. When asked when they would be, the lead investigator replied; "As soon as a journal is brave enough to accept the paper".

Links, please.

You do have a habit of linking to tabloids.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Excellent results, it is a shame that no amount of evidence will ever convince people that don't want to believe in science.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@Akie: I have lived in Japan 25 years. From living here and they also from my travels to China I can say that Japan was ahead of China on the mask issue.

It is really amazing this is even debated. Masks certainly reduce the risk of transmission and also will reduce (not eliminate) the amount of virii taken in by the wearer.

I really cannot understand at all the objection to the use of masks.

I have no problem calling people wagamama when I get into an elevator or other similar circumstance and they are not wearing a mask

6 ( +7 / -1 )

An N95 mask, used by medical professionals, blocked up to 90%.

That must be a fake N95 mask from China.

For those in the US, KF94 masks are relatively widely available in the US. Don't buy Chinese KN95 masks because 70% of them circulating in the US are fakes and don't meet filtering standard. Even those few that do meet filtering standards, they are significantly inferior to the KF94 masks in terms of breathing resistance.

As for cloth masks and Uniqlo Airism masks, they were never going to protect the wearer, only the others around the wearer. My best wish to Japanese who have no access to personal protective equipment in their entire country.

For those who need more info on what's actually available in the US, refer to this mask review.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z93BoeCuIE4

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@Tokyo-Engr

Japan was ahead of China on the mask issue.

But not anymore.

At least a Chinese person in China can buy 10 mask brands and find 3 that meets N95 standard. Heck, rich people in China just buy imported KF94 masks from Korea and not deal with this whole fake mask fisco.

A Japanese person in Japan has no access to any sort of mask that will provide a decent personal protection at 95%+ filtering efficiency. Uniqlo Airism masks do not constitute a PPE equipment it is same as other cloth masks.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Hi Samit

I was in a shotengai in Japan this past weekend (if you are not familiar an open covered market) and found 4 or 5 shops selling N95 masks. I have 10 of them which I would use only if I had to fly or stay in close proximity to a crowd for a long duration.

Are you in Japan? I also travel to Korea often; have many friends and business acquaintances there. They also have seemed to manage well during the Pandemic

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Having biorxiv available for preprints this sounds more like a bad excuse than a real reason. Scientists do not depend on journals anymore to let other people know their results, their actual use if (supposedly) a good peer review system and collect IF points to get a better position in the future, but since most journals have no problem accepting papers already made available as a preprint anybody can do both things without problem.

This is a pretty big study, with many authors (14 people, 4 of which are lead researchers), and according with some of the authors, there is disagreement if they should make available the preprint without a journal, but some of them do not want that, as they believe it would undermine the results and they would just be ignored.

Let me be just clear, this quotation if from just one of the authors, as a simple response he gave to people asking why the results have not yet been published, even thou they were supposed to be available in September, but the detailed reasons why this is happening are not known, the only thing that we know is that some of the authors are pissed of at this situation.

You can read the actual methodology and details of the study here, which was published in a journal back in August, which was peer reviewed and accepted by the Danish Medical Journal:

https://ugeskriftet.dk/dmj/face-masks-prevention-covid-19-rationale-and-design-randomised-controlled-trial-danmask-19

The most frequent reason to avoid publishing something even as a preprint is that the results are not what they wanted to find or the methodologies used to "prove" their conclusions are too obviously flawed.

Once again, this isn't some study made by a single person, or anything like that, they had funding from the Salling Foundations, they methodology is already public, so that also doesn't make much sense.

Not to mention that this study was highly quoted by many reviews and papers who talked about masks, as one of the most important current studies on the field.

In the worst case scenario, they could just do it again, but the response of some of the authors make it seem that is not the case.

Once again, there is no public statement about the situation of what is going on with this study, but, as I said, what we need are exactly studies like this one, instead of these low quality, done a million times science fair experiments that keep finding their way into the national and international news as the "definitive answer" to some problem.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Digging a little bit more, it seems that at least one news paper in Denmark has published today an article about this debacle.

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=da&u=https://jv.dk/artikel/dansk-studie-om-mundbind-afvist-af-medicinske-tidsskrifter&prev=search&pto=aue

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

So, wait. We should wear a mask, keep some distance from others and wash our hands often?

That's the first I've heard of this...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Probably because the results show there's no statistical difference between infection rates between those who wore masks and control group

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Tokyo-Engr

found 4 or 5 shops selling N95 masks.

Which is suspect because legit N95 masks are impossible to come by nowadays for non-medical personnel.

And most of N95 masks from China are fakes...

I also travel to Korea often; have many friends and business acquaintances there.

If you travel to Korea or have acquaintances there, then you should obviously try to hoard KF94 masks, using your connections or personal trips. Don't trust cloth masks, they are fine for outdoor setting but in indoor settings they offer no protection from infection.

KF94 is the only trustworthy among generally available masks right now, assuming it's the legit one. Numerous incidents of superspreader events where the only people who didn't get infected were KF94 mask wearers. Incidents like this were repeated over and over.

https://news.yahoo.com/starbucks-branch-linked-least-66-161214367.html

Starbucks Branch Linked To At Least 66 COVID-19 Cases — But Employees Were Spared

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Samit: N95 masks are not impossible to obtain for non medical personnel. Even in my country of citizenship (the mask averse U.S.) these are available and prior to the Pandemic were commonly stocked at home improvement stores.

Korea is a fine country however Korea is not the only country to have this technology and I have no problem finding legitimate N95 masks in Japan.

I wish you well.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

People look ridiculous wearing those stupid masks. There is no way I’m wearing one.

-14 ( +0 / -14 )

People look ridiculous wearing those stupid masks. There is no way I’m wearing one.

They also help mask the smell of cheap alcohol, I suggest you try one.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Sure thing Citizen Smith. Just don't get into an elevator or crowded space with me. Wagamama would be the appropriate reply.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

People look ridiculous wearing those stupid masks.

Maybe, but they're a darn sight better than a respirator. You don't mind the people around you needing respirators, just so's you can tell yourself you look good?

(Note: In today's Covid world, the no-mask-in-public look is not a good look.)

Invalid CSRF

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I would be just as interested to find out the epidemiological result of wearing the mask when the wearer is infectious. Is there a discrepancy of the degree to which one spreads the virus between those who wear a mask and those who don’t? With Covid often being asymptomatic, wearing a mask to prevent unknowingly infecting others would seem to be extremely important to stop the spread.

Of course, this requires a degree of socialism. The people have to be willing to give of themselves for the benefit of society. Only nationals of nations that feel an obligation to their society along with their rights as citizens will voluntarily wear masks to stop the spread.

I wonder if America would make this socialist move to wear masks for each other’s benefit.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Yeah similar finding here too. That's why you need social distancing of 2 metres. We also had a study from McMaster University in Hamiltion Ontario Canada. They had a rate where it dropped from 17% down to 3%. Masks are very useful, but it's not zero. That's why you limit your contact and go out for essentials only

This is also why Canada will keep the border closed to our next door neighbour Mordor. Again, essential goods crisscross only.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Does not make sense if you do not wear eye protection that protects eyes , the goggles should have seal aroud your eyes same as work shop people wear. They are cheap and have foam around frame and can get tinted or optic correction too.

your future may be so bright you might have to wear shades :)

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Again, it's an experiment on the level of an elementary school science fair.

Actual virus in an elementary school science fair experiment ?

Plus the metrics , the machinery ..

I don't know where you come from but this experiment , even if legal to perform in an elementary school that is, seems a bit complex to me.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Does not make sense if you do not wear eye protection that protects eyes , the goggles should have seal aroud your eyes same as work shop people wear.

There's sensible precautions and then there is over the top obsessive anxiety.

The precautions that people are taking mean that the chances of catching COVID-19 in Japan are tiny.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The single biggest issue for voters in this election is leadership through covid (or rather, in Trump's case, the complete lack of it).

Remember, the only people in the world blaming someone else for Covid, are those who have entirely fouled up their response to it. And they all seem to be members of a single political party, in a single country, yet think that their response makes sense for the world.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Once again, there is no public statement about the situation of what is going on with this study, but, as I said, what we need are exactly studies like this one, instead of these low quality, done a million times science fair experiments that keep finding their way into the national and international news as the "definitive answer" to some problem.

This is not a low quality study and cannot be made on science fair experiments. There is extreme importance in corroborating what is though with this virus, not with random aerosols, and with a controlled environment and precise methodology and measurements in order for it to be done. A lot of times what is though to be obvious turns out not to be so (like not transmission from asymptomatic carriers).

The article you keep mentioning is not published, it should have been at least as a preprint, and excuses about it are not believable, (and not pertinent to this post according to the moderators). The only important thing is this study is, the data is solid and it supports the recommendation to use masks. Until is contradicted by other studies of better quality there is no sense on saying it should be discarded as evidence.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I agree with a previous poster that they should do another experiment to simulate normal breathing with both heads, not just one coughing and one breathing.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Even so it will reduce your viral load which is a plus if you're in a situation with a coughing person. I agree they need to do an experiment with just normal breathing . Countries where people are still arguing about wearing masks are a lost cause and no matter how many experiments or reports are completed to show the benefits they know better.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@CitizenSmith

People look ridiculous wearing those stupid masks. There is no way I’m wearing one.

There’s a few people on this thread right now that look ridiculous. You’re one of them.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This is not a low quality study and cannot be made on science fair experiments. There is extreme importance in corroborating what is though with this virus, not with random aerosols, and with a controlled environment and precise methodology and measurements in order for it to be done. A lot of times what is though to be obvious turns out not to be so (like not transmission from asymptomatic carriers).

I asume you haven't read the literature on mask transmission.

No one is negating that masks are a physical barrier, there have been a lot of studies just like this one that basically show the dynamics of airborne particles when you sneeze from a mask, or breath or whatever, this isn't new.

In fact, before this year, exactly this kind of studies promoted by the WHO were used as a way to show how masks aren't good enough. I remember not so long ago how a similar study was used to basically say that people should try to sneeze and cough in their elbows, and to not think that because you have a mask there is no problem. It's really crazy how the narrative did a 180 degree change in so little time.

What we don't know, is that those results cannot be translated directly on a real world environment. The transmission dynamics are varied, and the way people act with and without masks, makes these kind of studies really just a baseline to the reality.

There has been only ONE single randomized controlled study, in a hospital setting, and it was just comparing strict guidelining with respirators, vs cloth masks and a control group with doctors doing their "usual practices", and what they found is that only respirators with strict guidelines had any difference, the cloth mask group actually performed worse than the control group.

Now, this study isn't really applicable in the general population either, and it isn't good enough to say anything about masks, since the setting was in hospital, it used strict guidelines, and people in the control group weren't necessarily not using masks, but just doing their "usual practices" as medical professionals, even thou one of the conclusions of the study was actually saying that the results showed a combination between the mixed control group and that probably cloth masks could have negative effects.

That's why the Danish study is important, it was basically a complement to the already existing randomized study I just talked about, but instead of looking at a Medical environment, it was looking at the general population, with a control group without masks.

The article you keep mentioning is not published, it should have been at least as a preprint, and excuses about it are not believable

I love how when people hold to an ideology, magically they feel they can just call everyone they disagree with a liar (I mean, you are saying that the fact that they cannot get their paper published, which was covered by Danish news, is just an "excuse", basically saying they are liars) but ok.

If the study gets published, as they actually confirmed that are trying to get it published, will you acknowledge the results?

I know I will, even if it's not what I expect, because the methodology is exactly trying to answer the actual controversy on general usage of masks.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

This is not a low quality study and cannot be made on science fair experiments. There is extreme importance in corroborating what is though with this virus, not with random aerosols, and with a controlled environment and precise methodology and measurements in order for it to be done. A lot of times what is though to be obvious turns out not to be so (like not transmission from asymptomatic carriers).

I asume you haven't read the literature on mask transmission.

No one is negating that masks are a physical barrier, there have been a lot of studies just like this one that basically show the dynamics of airborne particles when you sneeze from a mask, or breath or whatever, this isn't new.

In fact, before this year, exactly this kind of studies promoted by the WHO were used as a way to show how masks aren't good enough. I remember not so long ago how a similar study was used to basically say that people should try to sneeze and cough in their elbows, and to not think that because you have a mask there is no problem. It's really crazy how the narrative did a 180 degree change in so little time.

What we don't know, is that those results cannot be translated directly on a real world environment. The transmission dynamics are varied, and the way people act with and without masks, makes these kind of studies really just a baseline to the reality.

There has been only ONE single randomized controlled study, in a hospital setting, and it was just comparing strict guidelining with respirators, vs cloth masks and a control group with doctors doing their "usual practices", and what they found is that only respirators with strict guidelines had any difference, the cloth mask group actually performed worse than the control group.

Now, this study isn't really applicable in the general population either, and it isn't good enough to say anything about masks, since the setting was in hospital, it used strict guidelines, and people in the control group weren't necessarily not using masks, but just doing their "usual practices" as medical professionals, even thou one of the conclusions of the study was actually saying that the results showed a combination between the mixed control group and that probably cloth masks could have negative effects.

That's why the Danish study is important, it was basically a complement to the already existing randomized study I just talked about, but instead of looking at a Medical environment, it was looking at the general population, with a control group without masks.

The article you keep mentioning is not published, it should have been at least as a preprint, and excuses about it are not believable

I love how when people hold to an ideology, magically they feel they can just call everyone they disagree with a liar (I mean, you are saying that the fact that they cannot get their paper published, which was covered by Danish news, is just an "excuse", basically saying they are liars) but ok.

If the study gets published, as they actually confirmed that are trying to get it published, will you acknowledge the results?

I know I will, even if it's not what I expect, because the methodology is exactly trying to answer the actual controversy on general usage of masks.

Put a mask on.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

No one is negating that masks are a physical barrier, there have been a lot of studies just like this one that basically show the dynamics of airborne particles when you sneeze from a mask, or breath or whatever, this isn't new.

Others studies have not used this strain of virus, they cannot be extrapolated and that is why this study is important, it helps supporting the health authorities recommendation and it cannot be simply done, being a physical barrier is not the important conclusion of this study but that it does help reducing the risk of contagion. It does not matter that this is not done in the real world because it still indicate results.

This study do not conclude nor recommend that wearing a mask makes everything ok, only that it helps because it does. this is not a 0 or 100% thing. Bring the reference you mention, it would not be the first time someone takes the wrong conclusion from a study that even contradict what the authors said. For all we know they may not even have used SARS-CoV-2.

The danish study is not important, at all, because it has not been published, and the reason for not publishing it as a preprint are not believable, if many professional authors and institutes support a well designed study and the results expected by many scientists it makes no sense that it will be ignored just because it is a preprint.

Saying that journals are rejecting a study where even the authors are in conflict because of invalid reasons is also saying they are lying.

If the study gets published, as they actually confirmed that are trying to get it published, will you acknowledge the results?

Obviously, the same as this one, that of course do not meant the results have to be believed as dogma, but considered according to how close they followed the methodology they said they were going to use and how well they defend their results from conflicting evidence in the conclusions. The problem would be believing that a study without any results published somehow "has" to prove another (already published) as wrong is not rational. First class journals may have perfectly valid reasons to reject it.

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That is why when I travel on the train that one day a week putting on my thick mask and a face shield and even than there will be a question mark on how safe I am from it. But, I feel by just taking that extra step it is going to raise that bar not only for myself, however, for the person standing around me.

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