The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are challenging to maintain, such as in groceries, pharmacies, and most especially in areas of community-based transmission.
CDC only recommends the general public to use cloth face coverings and not surgical masks or N-95 respirators since those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical frontliners. Nonetheless, with the proper materials, it can prevent the wearer from catching the virus.
Moreover, a new study from the researchers in Japan emphasized that wearing of face mask could reduce the risk of dying from COVID-19.
Computer Models Determine Factors Affecting Death Rates
The Japanese researchers used data collected by YouGov, a British market research company. The team from Miyazawa Clinic in Hyogo and the University of Houston-Victoria then developed a computer model to determine how various factors affected the death rates from COVID-19 in different countries.
In their paper published on Tuesday on the preprint website Medrxic.org, they stated that wearing of face mask has by far the most significant impact in affecting death rates; it affects 70% of the death rates from the deadly disease.
YouGov surveyed people from more than 20 countries if they wear a face mask in public. The results revealed that only 21% of people 'in Britain said "yes" but over 90% in some Asian countries.
For instance, in China, it is considered an offense not to wear a face mask when in public and several foreigners have been arrested for not following the rule. Likewise, in Japan, people wear face masks though it is not a legal requirement for its citizens.
The Japanese study did not only look at the face mask data. According to its lead author, Dr Daisuke Miyazawa, they also took into account the age and body mass index of the responders.
The study's abstract read as the: "identification of biomedical and socioeconomic predictors for the number of deaths by Covid-19 among countries will lead to the development of effective intervention".
Wearing of Face Mask Is the Strongest Predictor of Death Rates
The findings of the study point to face mask wearing as the strongest predictor for the number of deaths per million, and the sooner that people start wearing them, the better, South China Morning Post reports.
Almost 80% of the COVID-19 deaths reported in early June could be linked to the reluctance of people wearing a face mask in mid-March. The study said that the benefits of wearing a mask were later on revealed, but any benefits plateaued by May.
Furthermore, another study from the University of Cambridge in Britain in April showed that "universal masking" had significantly contributed to suppressing COVID-19 in all Asian countries except for India.
Additionally, a study from the California Institute of Technology this month rated face masks as the most effective means to prevent transmissions from person-to-person.
Then finally this month, the World Health Organization has recommended wearing face masks when in public after previously discouraging people from doing so.
WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on June 5: "In light of evolving evidence, the WHO advises that governments should encourage the general public to wear marks ... on public transport."
Moreover, Japanese researchers also found that people with more body fat are also unwilling to wear face masks because they feel more uncomfortable. "An obese adult inhales an average of 50% more air per day than non-obese adults," they said.