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Epidemiologists defend utility mask

Since last June 5, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that in places where there is disseminated transmission of the disease, such as Mexico, the mask be used in public places, said Miguel Betancourt, president of the Mexican Health Society Public.

In an interview, he indicated that the WHO has clarified that the evidence of the usefulness of the mask to prevent or avoid infection is limited, but that there are studies that show its usefulness.

He explained that a study published on October 28 in the International Journal of Infectious Disease, where a review of 190 countries is made and more than 2 million cases are analyzed, establishes that non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as the implementation of mandatory face masks, measures of quarantine and distancing and limitation of transit are associated both individually and collectively, with a greater reduction in the effective reproducibility rate of the disease.

He stated that according to the study this is a conservative model, but in a more optimistic one, the reduction due to the use of face masks would be above 30 percent.

“Unfortunately, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador echoes what the undersecretary (Hugo López-Gatell) says and these are the messages that since the epidemic began in Mexico have greatly confused the population.”

He warned that if the President or the undersecretary as spokesmen say that there is no evidence that the mask works, causes people to question its use.

Meanwhile, Gustavo Oláiz, coordinator of the Center for Research on Policies, Population and Health of the UNAM, explained that scientists carried out a meta-analysis of 33 studies published by Eurosurveillance, a scientific platform specialized in epidemiology, which shows that the use of face masks reduces the COVID-19 infection between 6 and 61 percent and, considering several factors, the decrease could reach 95 percent.