The use of face masks along with lockdowns could prevent a second or third wave of coronavirus, according to a new study published by UK scientists on Wednesday.
“Under certain conditions, when lockdown periods are implemented in combination with 100 percent face mask use, there is vastly less disease spread,” the researchers said in the published study. This then leads to “flattened” second and third waves which result in bringing the epidemic under control, according to the scientists.
The scientists based their research on four models to test the effectiveness of masks with and without a lockdown period. Researchers found that in a model where no one wore a mask, infections “increased exponentially” but were “slightly slowed” by a lockdown, according to a Fortune report. However, the scientists found that a second wave started when the lockdown ended.
In the scenario “in which half the population wears masks, infections barely increase at first but then start to take off in the fourth lockdown period, and infection rates are lower among mask wearers,” Fortune reported.
According to the study, the spread of the virus is “greatly diminished” when 100 percent of the public wear face masks.
The researchers concluded that the use of face masks by the public “when used in combination with physical distancing or periods of lockdown, may provide an acceptable way of managing the COVID-19 pandemic and reopening economic activity.”
The study also suggested that these results are relevant to developed countries as well as “the developing world” in which people who are “resource poor” can use “effective” home-made face masks for protection.