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Revisiting masks…

This is a quick follow-up on the Cochrane review of the efficiency of masking policies to prevent the spread of pulmonary diseases like Covid.

I already provided my views on this topic, stressing that the review’s main conclusion was that the evidence is inconclusive.

The Cochrane Institute has now issued a statement which corrected the wide misinterpretation of the article:

Many commentators have claimed that a recently-updated Cochrane Review shows that ‘masks don’t work’, which is an inaccurate and misleading interpretation.

It would be accurate to say that the review examined whether interventions to promote mask wearing help to slow the spread of respiratory viruses, and that the results were inconclusive. Given the limitations in the primary evidence, the review is not able to address the question of whether mask-wearing itself reduces people’s risk of contracting or spreading respiratory viruses.


Throughout the pandemic, I have had mixed views on masks. Initially, I was quite sceptical about their efficacy, but then I accepted them as an important link in the whole chain of protection against Covid.

I invested in a good-quality mask and wore it extensively. I saw mask-wearing as a relatively easy, although perhaps not highly efficient, measure to protect myself from the virus and – even more – to protect others.

Although I mostly do not use a mask nowadays to protect myself, I will use it as a courtesy measure when I am ill with any respiratory tract infection – common cold, cough, flu, or Covid. It is the least I can do to help others.

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