New findings, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, suggest that neither surgical nor cloth masks are at all effective in stopping the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
After analyzing the swabs, the researchers found particles of SARS-CoV-2 on the outsides of both types of mask, suggesting that neither type can contain the virus.
“Neither surgical nor cotton masks effectively filtered SARS–CoV-2 during coughs by infected patients,” the researchers write in their study paper.
“Prior evidence that surgical masks effectively filtered influenza virus informed recommendations that patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should wear face masks to prevent transmission,” they explain.
The investigators conclude that surgical masks and reusable cloth masks are both “ineffective in preventing the dissemination of SARS-CoV-2.”