Since the beginning of 2020, the question of the effectiveness of masks in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 and other airborne viruses has been raised countless times. Now, there is ample evidence of the effectiveness of facemasks and respirators in reducing the chances of catching COVID-19. Linsey Marr has recently summed this up in a 60 Minutes Overtime episode.
While no mask is 100% effective (even N95s are only tested to filter > 95% particles at 0.3 microns), even masks with only 80% filtration efficiency offer meaningful protection, according to Dr. Marr. This goes a long way towards reducing the chances of infection.
Perhaps most importantly, Dr. Marr also addresses the misconception that masks filter like sieves - which they do not. Filters are not like sieves, and we discussed this in an article published on this blog.
Marr also states that all masks - even cloth masks - do something to reduce our chances of catching and spreading airborne illnesses. While they are far less effective than high-filtration masks and respirators, they are better than nothing.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can find the full interview with Linsey Marr on 60 Minutes Overtime.