Association Between Universal Masking in a Health Care System and SARS-CoV-2 Positivity Among Health Care Workers

Massachusetts healthcare system review (9850 tested healthcare workers) found universal masking was associated with a significantly lower rate of SARS-CoV-2 positivity (mean increase of 1.16% per day prior to intervention, vs 0.49% decrease per day post intervention, p<0.001).

SPS commentary:

A related editorial notes that other community-wide and hospital-specific interventions may also have contributed to the observed reduction in rate. 

It considers how individuals can make the most of this intervention. Firstly, public health officials and leaders need to ensure that the public understands clearly when and how to wear cloth face coverings properly and continue building the evidence base for their effectiveness. Second, although cloth face coverings are generally well tolerated for short periods, with prolonged use they can be irritating or difficult for some people to breathe through, especially in hot or humid environments. Innovation is needed to extend their physical comfort and ease of use. Third, the public needs consistent, clear, and appealing messaging that normalises community masking. At this critical juncture when COVID-19 is resurging, broad adoption of cloth face coverings is a civic duty, a small sacrifice reliant on a highly effective low-tech solution that can help turn the tide favourably in national and global efforts against COVID-19.


Journal of the American Medical Association

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