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Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the cause of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has caused a global pandemic of historic proportions in the 10 months since cases were first reported in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, with worldwide morbidity, mortality, and disruptions to society.
Ultimately, a safe and effective vaccine will be essential to control the pandemic and allow resumption of the many activities of normal life. While results of phase 3 trials for multiple candidate vaccines are on the near horizon, “low-tech” tools to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 are essential, and it must be emphasized that these interventions will still be needed after a vaccine is initially available. Even if one or more vaccines have high efficacy and uptake in the population, it will take at least several months for enough people to be vaccinated to confer herd immunity on a population basis.
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“Given these problems with the experimental design, we believe that the authors’ conclusions can lead the public to overestimate the protection these fabric masks can truly offer. As of this writing on June 30, 2020, the article has been viewed over 350,000 times. We encourage readers to consider the broader literature in which sound aerosol science has shown lower filtration efficiencies for fabric materials”.
Lerner AM, Folkers GK, Fauci AS. Preventing the Spread of SARS-CoV-2 With Masks and Other “Low-tech” Interventions. JAMA. 2020;324(19):1935–1936. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.21946
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