Massive study suggests that masks cut coronavirus transmission by 19%

And when I say “massive”, I mean n = 20,000,000.
I mean 92 regions across 6 continents.
With some really novel and sensible statistical work on all those phat, delicious data cakes.

And when I say “19%”, I mean… well… 19%. But that’s a fair chunk as well.

Remembering that the means to getting out of this pandemic are multi-factorial, and follow the “Swiss Cheese” approach:

…whereby none of the measures we try will be 100% effective (some maybe not even close), but using several methods together, we can really limit the spread of infection.

It doesn’t seem like rocket science (because it quite literally isn’t) to work out that somehow limiting the range of someone’s exhalations will result in a reduction in transmission of a virus which we transmit when we breathe out. And yet mask mandates, such as they were observed anyway (something which this study allows for), are being dropped all over the world as we attempt to return to normal life, and to “live with the virus”.

This move was always coming – it has/had to – and I’m all for that return to normal life, but there really doesn’t seem to be any allowance made for the huge morbidity (and yes, the ongoing mortality) from Covid-19. Not just “Long Covid”: no, I’m still not back to full health, 11 months, almost R100,000 of medical expenses and 4 cardiac screenings on from my infection.

We’re still finding new ways in which this virus is affecting the health of people post infection, and many of them are debilitating, chronic conditions: effects on the immune system, diabetes, cardiac conditions etc. Which raises the questions of how many more syndromes related to Covid-19 infection we still don’t know about, and how we plan to deal with the burden on our healthcare systems:

Yes. Like that.

So while I completely understand (and support) a return to whatever passed for “normal life” BTV, sadly (and unpopularly), I don’t think we’re actually ready for that just yet, and it would be very sensible to continue to do everything in our power to limit transmission of the virus until we actually know what else it has in store for us.