Widespread mask-wearing could prevent coronavirus second waves: Study

Masks, social distancing and some lockdown measures could be 'an acceptable way of managing the pandemic,' researchers say

LONDON — Population-wide face mask use could push COVID-19 transmission down to controllable levels for national epidemics, and could prevent further waves of the pandemic disease when combined with lockdowns, according to a British study on Wednesday.

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Widespread use of face masks could dramatically reduce coronavirus transmissions if enough people wear them, new research suggests. 

The research, led by scientists at the Britain's Cambridge and Greenwich Universities, suggests lockdowns alone will not stop the resurgence of the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, but that even homemade masks can dramatically reduce transmission rates if enough people wear them in public.

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"Our analyses support the immediate and universal adoption of face masks by the public," said Richard Stutt, who co-led the study at Cambridge.

He said combining widespread mask use with social distancing and some lockdown measures, could be "an acceptable way of managing the pandemic and re-opening economic activity" before the development of an effective vaccine against COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.

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