We’ve been told that wearing a mask is a selfless act to protect others. But, now, it turns out that we are helping ourselves as well.
According to research done by Dr. Monica Ghandi, if you wear a mask and are exposed to the virus, the viral load incident will be much less, making the disease milder, if not alleviated altogether.
40% of Coronavirus Infections Produce No Symptoms
Researchers have cautiously estimated that 40 percent of coronavirus infections produce no symptoms. But, when people don’t wear a mask, the proportion of COVID cases goes up. Wearing a face covering doesn’t mean you won’t get the virus, or that people are impervious to infection. It suggests that masks lead to milder disease, potentially reducing hospitalizations and deaths.
Wearing a Mask Not Enough
However, just wearing a mask is no substitute for social distancing and frequent hand washing. But, covering our faces is easier than sustaining a perpetual lockdown.
Safeguarding yourself and others from this deadly disease, she added, “is as simple as covering up the two holes in your face that shed the virus.” says Dr. Gandhi.
Reducing the Viral Load
Dr. Gandhi gave an example from the data gathered from two cruise ships. Typically, cruise ships pack a lot of people into close quarters. Someone exhibited a fever on one ship, so face masks were issued to all who came aboard. Another ship did not require masks. The vessel that issued the masks had a level of COVID cases of below 20%, while the boat without masking requirements had more than 80%. The data indicates that a mask could deter the development of the virus, even if someone had symptoms. The people on the ship with no masks, and even with no passenger with a fever, came down with symptoms.
Excerpts from: Katherine J. Wu
Published July 27, 2020