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ICYMI: Preventing COVID - Masks, Meters and Eyewear

Jul 09, 2020 10:08 am

Editor's note: This article originally appeared June 4, 2020, and is being shared again this week in case you missed it. 

A Lancet systematic review and meta-analysis provides the basis for physical distancing and the value of making as measures to prevent infection with coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) or COVID-19.

The analysis included 172 observational studies, no randomised controlled trials and 44 relevant comparative studies involving 25 697 patients.  Main points being:

  • Transmission of viruses was lower with physical distancing of 1 m or more  (n=10 736, pooled aOR 0·18, 95% CI 0·09 to 0·38)
    • protection was increased as distance was lengthened (change in relative risk [RR] 2·02 per m; pinteraction=0·041; moderate certainty).
  • Face mask use reduced the risk of infection (n=2647; aOR 0·15, 95% CI 0·07 to 0·34)
    • stronger associations with N95 or similar respirators compared with disposable surgical masks or similar reusable cotton masks
    • The risk of infection without a mask was 17.4%; but with a face mask was only 3.1%
  • Eye protection also resulted in less infection (n=3713; aOR 0·22, 95% CI 0·12 to 0·39) 

The authors conclude that randomised trials are needed to better clarify the benefit of these interventions.

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

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