Op-ed: Why face masks are the ‘right now’ strategy

The latest evidence makes it clear that wearing a face mask can save lives during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an op-ed by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers.

In an October 8, 2020 opinion piece in USA Today, Joseph Allen, associate professor of exposure assessment science and director of the Healthy Buildings program, and Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, outlined recent evidence showing that even simple cloth masks can reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus, contracting it, or developing a severe case.

For example, they cited one study showing that, among kids and adults with coronavirus, those who wore common surgical masks shed fewer viral aerosols and droplets than those who didn’t wear masks. Another study found that universal masking significantly lowered the rate of coronavirus infection in health care workers, they said.

“Masks are the ‘right now’ strategy that can help us reopen schools and offices and the economy,” the authors wrote. “Mask up, America!”

Read the USA Today op-ed: Americans, we can fight COVID-19 and save lives now. Wear a mask!