Courtesy of Inverse

Masks slow the spreade of SARS-COV-2 by reducing how much infected people spray the virus into the environment around them when they cough or talk. Evidence from laboratory experiments, hospitals, and whole countries shows that masks work, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends face coverings for the U.S. public. With all this evidence, mask-wearing has become the norm in many places.

I am an infectious disease doctor and a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. As governments and workplaces began to recommend or mandate mask-wearing, my colleagues and I noticed an interesting trend. In places where most people wore masks, those who did get infected seemed dramatically less likely to get severely ill compared to places with less mask-wearing.

It seems people get less sick if they wear a mask.

When you wear a mask – even a cloth mask – you typically are exposed to a lower dose of the coronavirus than if you didn’t. Both recent experiments in animal models using coronavirus and nearly a hundred years of viral research show that lower viral doses usually means less severe disease.

No mask is perfect, and wearing one might not prevent you from getting infected. But it might be the difference between a case of Covid-19 that sends you to the hospital and a case so mild you don’t even realize you’re infected.

We have already discussed here on IM, that there is evidence that the amount of exposure seems to help predict the severity of your symptoms. 

However, back then I considered that in the context of the environment in which you were exposed, say inside of a poorly ventilated office area as opposed to an outside area with a breeze dissipating the majority of the respiratory particles. 

If it is true that wearing a mask helps to filter out the majority of the viral load as well that means their effectiveness in preventing extreme sickness or even death is yet another major reason we should all keep wearing them.