Is face mask effective against COVID-19? (Image via CIDRAP)

Is wearing mask effective?

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading like a wildfire, the usage of face masks in Asia also sees a far more widespread compared to the West that requires the people to reserve some supplies for the medical team. The question is, is face mask really that effective?

Medical experts agree that the surgical masks commonly used by the people could not prevent the COVID-19 effectively. However, the COVID-19 infected should wear them to stop spreading the virus. There is even evidence showing that the transmission could even happen before a person knows that they are sick.

The Asian people wear masks as the way to protect the society and themselves, said Keiji Fukuda, the Director and Clinical professor at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health. However, in the West, the U.S., for example, wearing face masks is seen by many as a personal infringement.

While the Asian countries perceive that the face mask is what prevented the virus, the medical experts said otherwise.

The medical experts credited the fast and vast public health measures, including identification and isolation. The countries also trace and quarantine those who contract the virus. Moreover, these countries also implement physical distancing.

The World Health Organization (WHO) still advised the people, in general, to not wear masks in public, reminding them of the shortage that could happen and affect the medical workers.

Moreover, some medical experts also said that the masks could backfire and create a “false sense of security”. While they think they are safe, they grow reluctant to comply with the physical distancing policy.

While more research is required to see how these masks help in tackling the COVID-19, the experts said that it is good to wear face masks to slow down infection growth.