Posted: May 14, 2020
This study should open the eyes of those in the hospitality industry on the importance of face protections as we reopen to the new normal.
I’m a data scientist at the University of San Francisco and teach courses online in machine learning for fast.ai. In late March, I decided to use public mask-wearing as a case study to show my students how to combine and analyze diverse types of data and evidence.
Much to my surprise, I discovered that the evidence for wearing masks in public was very strong. It appeared that universal mask-wearing could be one of the most important tools in tackling the spread of COVID-19. Yet the people around me weren’t wearing masks and health organizations in the U.S. weren’t recommending their use.
I, along with 18 other experts from a variety of disciplines, conducted a review of the research on public mask-wearing as a tool to slow the spread SARS-CoV-2. We published a preprint of our paper on April 12 and it is now awaiting peer review at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Since then, there have been many more reviews that support mask-wearing.
On May 14, I and 100 of the world’s top academics released an open letter to all U.S. governors asking that “ officials require cloth masks to be worn in all public places, such as stores, transportation systems, and public buildings.”
Currently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone wears a mask – as do the governments covering 90% of the world’s population – but, so far, only 12 states in the U.S. require it. In the majority of the remaining states, the CDC recommendation has not been enough: Most people do not currently wear masks. However, things are changing fast. Every week more and more jurisdictions require mask use in public. As I write this, there are now 94 countries that have made this move.
So what is this evidence that has led me and so many scientists to believe so strongly in masks?
By Jeremy Howard
May 14, 2020
Source and complete article: Theconversation.com
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