KYW Medical Report: Are masks effective in reducing COVID-19 transmission risk?

A mask
A mask Photo credit Lazartivan/Getty Images
By KYW Newsradio 1060

KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross.

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Whether people choose to wear masks or not, it’s hard to believe that most Americans are not aware that masks can dramatically reduce the risk of the virus being transmitted from one person to another while talking or simply breathing in close proximity.

The mask is a physical barrier with excellent results when worn in public and workplace settings.

But several new studies suggest that even when the mask fails to prevent inhalation of the virus through the mouth or nose, the concentration of the virus is reduced dramatically.

This is another advantage because we are learning that if a person is exposed to a reduced concentration of the virus, they may test positive, but the body might be able to fight the reduced concentration more aggressively.