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New Study out of Denmark Shows Face Masks Have Little Effect on Stopping COVID-19 Spread


In a Country That Did Not Mandate Face Masks in Public, Researchers Found Nearly the Same Rate of Catching COVID-19 Whether You Wore a Face Mask, or Not.


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal

December 2, 2020


   Researchers in Denmark have published a new study on the use of surgical face masks in a community setting and found there was very little difference in infection rates of COVID-19 between the group that always wore masks in public and the group that never wore masks in public.

   The peer reviewed paper was published in the American College of Physicians’ Annals of Internal Medicine on November 18, 2020.   Denmark did not mandate mask use in public for the COVID-19 pandemic so the researchers had an excellent opportunity to test the use of conventional surgical masks to see if there was any appreciable reduction in COVID-19 infection rates.

   They recruited over 6,000 adults and divided them into a mask group of 3,030 volunteers to wear a mask of the three layer surgical type for 3 to 5 hours a day while in public.  There were 2,994 volunteers who did not wear a mask at all - like the rest of the public - and stayed in public for the same amount of time.  The study was conducted between April 3 - June 2, 2020.

  During the trial, test subjects in both groups were tested for anti-bodies to COVID-19.  It was found that in the mask group, 1.8% became infected with COVID-19 even though they wore a surgical mask all the time in public while 2.1% of those who did not wear face masks caught COVID-19.   The authors concluded, “a recommendation to wear a surgical mask when outside the home among others did not reduce, at conventional levels of statistical significance, incident SARS-CoV-2 infection compared with no mask recommendation.”

   A total of 52 masked and 39 control (no face mask) participants reported COVID-19 in their household.  Of these,  2 participants in the face mask group and 1 in the no face mask group developed SARS-CoV-2 infection, suggesting that the source of most observed infections was outside the home.

   While face masks do not protect people from COVID-19, it’s important to note the survival rate for COVID-19 for most people is over 99% according to a recent US CDC report.