Are the cloth masks useful? 0:54

(CNN Spanish) –– Some studies show that wearing masks helps stop the spread of the new coronavirus. A British study published June 10 found that using them in public before symptoms appear doubles the reduction in the rate of reproduction of the disease, compared to using them only after symptoms appear.

You can listen to this episode on Spotify or your favorite podcast platform or read the transcript below.

MIRA: How to use the masks during the summer?

Hello, I am Dr. Elmer Huerta and this is your daily dose of information about the new coronavirus, information that we hope will be useful to take care of your health and that of your family.

Today we will look at an interesting British study that shows that if the entire population wears face masks, second and third waves of infection could be prevented.

There is no doubt that western society has very slowly adopted the use of masks to protect themselves and others from the spread of respiratory diseases.

When the use of masks was a behavior accepted and widely practiced by the societies of Asian countries, in the West this custom was seen as strange and even ineffective.

Obviously, the then-current recommendation – from the World Health Organization itself – that masks were not useful for healthy people contributed to the fact that in the West it is difficult for us to adopt this useful public health practice.

Lately, however, some studies have been published that demonstrate the usefulness of masks in stopping the spread of the new coronavirus.

One of them is a British study published on June 10 that concluded that if we all wore face masks, the transmission of covid-19 would decrease to very controllable levels, and if combined with quarantines it could prevent future new waves of the disease.

The research, led by scientists from the British universities of Cambridge and Greenwich, suggests that quarantines alone will not stop the resurgence of the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, but that if enough people wear face masks in public – even homemade face masks – it could dramatically reduce the transmission rate of the new coronavirus.

The researchers recall that, at the start of the pandemic, the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of these masks or chinstraps to delay the transmission of respiratory diseases was limited, and there was no data on covid-19, since it was an unknown disease.

The study found that the constant use of face masks every time you are in public, and even before symptoms appear, doubles the reduction in the R number or rate of reproduction of the disease, compared to the fact that masks are only used after symptoms appear.

Transparent masks to be able to read lips 1:01

In the investigation, mathematical models were built that combined different scenarios in the use of masks with different quarantine situations. The final objective was to evaluate the spread of the virus among people, measuring the changes in the R value, and with them to predict what could happen in the population.

In all the scenarios studied, the use of masks by 50% or more of the population reduced the spread of covid-19 to an R of less than 1.0, decreasing future contagion and allowing for less stringent quarantines.

The researchers conclude that the immediate and universal adoption of masks by the public could control epidemics and prevent second or third waves.

How to dispose of face masks? 1:09

Knowing that we are dealing with a highly contagious respiratory virus, we think it is important to reflect on the use of masks.

They are uncomfortable, they make us feel very strange, we consider them an element outside our culture, but that they are useful, they are useful, and until we have an effective medicine or vaccine available to most of the planet’s inhabitants, they cannot only help countries to reopen their economies, but – most importantly – they will help prevent disease and death.

Send me your questions on Twitter, we will try to answer them in our next episodes. You can find me at @Drhuerta.

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