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Some scientists are claiming that the refusal to wear a face mask should be seen as akin to drinking and driving as it is a danger to those around you, according to CTV News.
On Tuesday, Royal Society, a prestigious science journal published two new peer-reviewed studies that show how significantly one can reduce the likelihood of spreading COVID-19 by wearing a face mask.
"It used to be quite normal to have quite a few drinks and drive home, and it also used to be normal to drive without seat belts," wrote Venki Ramakrishnan wrote in a comment article. "Today both of those would be considered antisocial, and not wearing face coverings in public should be regarded in the same way."
Ramakrishnan also stressed that the effectiveness of mask wearing is contingent of the cooperation of the masses.
"If all of us wear one, we protect each other and thereby ourselves, reducing transmission," said Ramakrishnan.
Social distancing and lockdown measures helped slow the spread of COVID-19 in areas where they were implemented, wearing a face mask is an extension of the preventative measures that will help flatten the curve faster.
It's estimated that anywhere from 40-60 percent of transmissions occur from people who are either pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic which could be greatly reduced by one's compliance to wear a mask.
The Universities of Pennsylvania and Cambridge conducted a study in New York City whereby they screened pregnant women as they were admitted for delivery for COVID-19 and found that 13.7 percent of the women were in fact infected despited the fact that 88 percent of them showed no symptoms.
Scientists are recommending cloth face masks as well as they can reduce oral particle dispersion by anywhere from 50-100 percent. Droplets are emitted not just by sneezing and coughing but also simply by talking and breathing, recent studies have shown.
Royal Society published a second study that outlined that jarring discrepancies amongst mask-wearing between wealthy countries. Britain for example 25 percent spike in mask-wearing in late April when COVID-19 was barrelling through Europe whereas in Italy that number was 83.4 percent and 65.8 percent in the U.S. and 63.8 in Spain.
"It isn't the public's fault for not wearing masks in the U.K.," said Melinda Mills, director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science at the University of Oxford and lead author. "Rather, consistent policies and effective public messaging is vital."
Authors of the study said while none of those countries previously had a culture of mask wearing, those that had public awareness campaigns and had established clear public guidance had much higher compliance from their citizens.
"People in countries like Italy, the US and Spain... have rapidly adopted face coverings largely because the authorities provided them with clear guidelines to understand why they should wear them." said Mills.