Facial Masking for Covid-19 — Potential for “Variolation” as We Await a Vaccine | NEJM

Masks Reduce Covid19 Severity?

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As SARS-CoV-2 continues its global spread, it’s possible that one of the pillars of Covid-19 pandemic control — universal facial masking — might help reduce the severity of disease and ensure that a greater proportion of new infections are asymptomatic. If this hypothesis is borne out, universal masking could become a form of “variolation” that would generate immunity and thereby slow the spread of the virus in the United States and elsewhere, as we await a vaccine.
One important reason for population-wide facial masking became apparent in March, when reports started to circulate describing the high rates of SARS-CoV-2 viral shedding from the noses and mouths of patients who were presymptomatic or asymptomatic — shedding rates equivalent to those among symptomatic patients.1 Universal facial masking seemed to be a possible way to prevent transmission from asymptomatic infected people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) therefore recommended on April 3 that the public wear cloth face coverings in areas with high rates of community transmission — a recommendation that has been unevenly followed across the United States.

— Read on www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2026913

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Masks Reduce Covid19 Severity?


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