By Monica Gandhi Masks slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 by reducing how much infected people spray the virus into the environment around them when they cough or talk. Evidence from laboratory experiments , hospitals and whole countries show that masks work , and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends face coverings for the U.S. public . With all this evidence, mask wearing has become the norm in many places. I am an infectious disease doctor and a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. As governments and workplaces began to recommend or mandate mask wearing, my colleagues and I noticed an interesting trend. In places where most people wore masks, those who did get infected seemed dramatically less likely to get severely ill compared to places with less mask-wearing. It seems people get less sick if they wear a mask . When you wear a mask – even a cloth mask – you typically are exposed to a lower dose of the coronavirus than if you didn’t. Both recent experiments in animal models using coronavirus and nearly a hundred years of viral research show that lower viral doses usually means less severe disease. No […]

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