Wearing a Face Mask Reduces Coronavirus Transmission by 75%, Study Finds

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As states around the U.S. reopen amid the coronavirus crisis, a new study finds that wearing a mask may really be the best defense against COVID-19. Researchers at Hong Kong University find that coronavirus transmission rates plummet by as much as 75 percent when surgical masks are worn. “The findings implied to the world and the public is that the effectiveness of mask-wearing against the coronavirus pandemic is huge,” says microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung, who helped discover the SARS virus in 2003. The study looked at hamsters in cages that were outfitted with mask-like barriers. Without barriers, 66.7 percent of healthy hamsters were infected with COVID-19 within a week, but when a mask barrier was used, the infection rate dropped to 16.7 percent.