Masks Work

We need them now more than ever

Turns out not only that masks work, but they work better than social distancing and hand washing alone. If you’re going out, wear a mask and don’t take it off until you’re back inside.

From a peer-reviewed1 article in The Proceedings of the NAS - Identifying airborne transmission as the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19:

Our analysis reveals that the difference with and without mandated face covering represents the determinant in shaping the trends of the pandemic. This protective measure significantly reduces the number of infections. Other mitigation measures, such as social distancing implemented in the United States, are insufficient by themselves in protecting the public.

It turns out SARS-CoV-2 virus is particularly virulent when aerosolized.

While transmission via direct or indirect contact occurs in a short range, airborne transmission via aerosols can occur over an extended distance and time. Inhaled virus-bearing aerosols deposit directly along the human respiratory tract.

https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2020/06/10/2009637117/F5.large.jpg

Transmission by aerosol is the last pathway for the virus that we haven’t stopped with hand-washing and social distancing, and it might be the most virulent form.

Please wear your mask whenever you’re outside. Don’t take it off just because there’s no one around. The aerosolized virus can float in the air for hours and infect anyone who inhales it.

Masks don’t show weakness, they show intelligence. Be smart, wear your mask! 😷


  1. Wait a minute. Now there’s some issue with the paper and its peer-review. The problem seems to be that the paper overstates the importance of masks relative to other mitigations. Furthermore, there’s still debate over the path of infection. Some scientists say this paper overstates the evidence that aerosolized particles are the primary vector. ↩︎