Two New Studies Confirm It: Wear a Mask!

How useful is mask wearing? Two new studies suggest it works pretty well. First up is a study from Germany that compared the city of Jena, where mask wearing became compulsory early on, with a “synthetic Jena” designed to be similar to the real Jena. Here are the results:

The authors believe the introduction of face masks to Jena had a very substantial effect on the spread of COVID-19:

We believe that the reduction in the growth rates of infections by 40% to 60% is our best estimate of the effects of face masks….We should also stress that 40 to 60% might still be a lower bound. The daily growth rates in the number of infections when face masks were introduced was around 2 to 3%. These are very low growth rates compared to the early days of the epidemic in Germany, where daily growth rates also lay above 50%. One might therefore conjecture that the effects might have been even greater if masks had been introduced earlier.

Next up is a CDC study of the COVID-19 outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The biggest reductions in virus spread are represented by the numbers that are the furthest below one:

Mask use is the most effective countermeasure, followed by social distancing and avoiding common areas. Hand sanitizer use may also be effective, but the error bars extend above one, so we can’t be sure.

These are just two studies, both with flaws. The Jena study is a single city and depends on the quality of the synthetic control constructed by the authors. The Roosevelt study is based on an artificial environment with a non-random sample. As always, more research is needed. Nonetheless, both of these point in the same direction: mask wearing is highly effective in halting the spread of COVID-19.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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