Dr. Brosseau – Masks-for-all for COVID-19 not based on sound data | CIDRAP

A randomized trial comparing the effect of medical and cloth masks on healthcare worker illness found that those wearing cloth masks were 13 times more likely to experience influenza-like illness than those wearing medical masks.38 In sum, very poor filter and fit performance of cloth masks described earlier and very low effectiveness for cloth masks in healthcare settings lead us conclude that cloth masks offer no protection for healthcare workers inhaling infectious particles near an infected or confirmed patient.

Surgical masks as PPE

Several randomized trials have not found any statistical difference in the efficacy of surgical masks versus N95 FFRs at lowering infectious respiratory disease outcomes for healthcare workers.39-43

Most reviews have failed to find any advantage of one intervention over the other.23,44-48 Recent meta-analyses found that N95 FFRs offered higher protection against clinical respiratory illness49,50 and lab-confirmed bacterial infections,49 but not viral infections or influenza-like illness.49

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