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New German study finds face masks can reduce Covid transmission rates by 40%

A German study has found that use of facemasks in shops and public transport can slash the spread of Coronavirus by 40%

Scientists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and the University of Southern Denmark analysed the central German city of Jena, the first city in the country to make it compulsory to wear masks in shops and on buses and trains on 6 April.

The number of new positive coronavirus cases recorded in the city fell by 13% in the first ten days from 6 April and 23% over the next 20 days. Two months later that figure had become 40%.

Researchers said this provided "strong and convincing statistical support" that face coverings "strongly reduced the number of incidences".

As the UK makes masks compulsory for people on public transport, this is persuasive evidence to add to increasing pressure on the government to make masks mandatory in all public spaces, including shops, which reopened this week.

In a discussion paper for the Institute of Labour Economics, the researchers write: “We believe that [this] reduction in the growth rates of infections […] is our best estimate of the effects of face masks. 

“This is a sizeable effect. Wearing face masks apparently helped considerably in reducing the spread of Covid-19.  

“[Jena] announced face masks as the first region in Germany while in our post-treatment period no other public health measures were introduced or eased. Hence, it provides the most clear-cut experiment of its effects.”

Link to study here 

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