Examining face-mask usage as an effective strategy to control COVID-19 spread

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Benjamin Adam Catching

"Examining face-mask usage as an effective strategy to control COVID-19 spread"
The COVID-19 global crisis is facilitated by high virus transmission rates and high percentages of asymptomatic and presymptomatic infected individuals. Containing the pandemic hinged on combinations of social distancing and face mask use. Here we examine the efficacy of these measures, using an agent-based modeling approach that evaluates face masks and social distancing in realistic confined spaces scenarios. We find face masks are more effective than social distancing. Importantly, combining face masks with even moderate social distancing provides optimal protection. The finding that widespread usage of face masks limits COVID-19 outbreaks can inform policies to reopening of social functions.

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