Wearing a Face Mask at Home May Limit Coronavirus Spread: Study

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If you have roommates, you may not want to remove your face covering once you get home.

A new study suggests wearing a face mask inside your residence can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by 79%, reported CNN.

The study, published by BMJ Global Health, found that the practice was most effective if started prior to feeling any coronavirus symptoms.

In addition, wearing a mask inside appeared to be slightly more effective than disinfecting your home with bleach, which was 77% effective.

"This study confirms the highest risk of household transmission being prior to symptom onset, but that precautionary [non-pharmaceutical interventions], such as mask use, disinfection and social distancing in households can prevent Covid-19 transmission during the pandemic," the study said.

The results were obtained by looking at 124 families living in Beijing with an individual infected with the novel virus.  In total, 460 people were questioned on household hygiene and other behaviors amid the pandemic.

41 of the families saw the initial infected family member pass it on to another member of the household. In the end, 77 adults and children contracted the virus.

Those families who were vigilant about disinfecting their homes, opening windows and maintaining at least three feet apart lowered the risk of spreading the virus.

While those families who retained close contact by eating or watching TV together saw an 18-fold increased risk. Waiting to wear a mask until a family member showed symptoms also posed a higher risk.

Despite the findings, some experts have pointed out the study’s shortcomings, including failing to reveal if the family members wore N95 masks, surgical masks or cloth coverings.

"This study is not robust science, as it has several limitations in the conception and in the statistical analysis," said Antonio Lazzarino of the University College London. "The main limitation is that it was designed at the family level, rather than at the individual level."

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