Do Face Coverings Lead to False Sense of Security From COVID-19? Here’s the Latest Research – SciTechDaily

Using face coverings, especially in shared indoor areas, is now mandated or recommended in more than 160 nations to lower transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that triggers COVID-19. Used properly, face coverings can minimize transmission of the infection as part of a set of protective steps, consisting of preserving physical range from others and good hand health.

The researchers are supported by the National Institute for Health Research.

Existing limited evidence recommends that using face coverings to protect versus COVID-19 does not lead to a false complacency and is not likely to increase the risk of infection through wearers foregoing other behaviors such as good hand health, state researchers from the University of Cambridge and Kings College London.

At least 22 organized reviews have assessed the result of wearing a mask on transmission of breathing infection infections. These include six speculative research studies, including over 2,000 homes in total– conducted in neighborhood settings that also determined hand health. While none of the research studies was created to evaluate risk payment or took a look at social distancing, their results recommend that using masks does not lower the frequency of handwashing or hand sanitizing. In 2 research studies, self-reported rates of handwashing were higher in the groups assigned to using masks.

At a population level, proof for danger payment is less clear. A commonly-cited example is the mandated using of bike helmets purportedly resulting in an increase in the number of bike injuries and deaths. Another often-cited example is the introduction of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and HPV vaccination supposedly resulting in an increase in unprotected sex.


Teacher Marteau and colleagues state the outcomes of the most current organized evaluations– a technique that includes examining all offered evidence on a topic– do not validate the issues of danger settlement for either of these examples. In reality, for HPV vaccination, the opposite effect was found: those who were immunized were less most likely to participate in vulnerable sexual behavior as determined by rates of sexually sent infection.

Composing in BMJ Analysis, the scientists state that the principle of danger settlement is itself the greater threat to public health as it may discourage policymakers from implementing potentially effective measures, such as using face coverings.

While it is not clear just how much of an impact face coverings have, scientists have advised policymakers to motivate the wearing of face coverings because the threats are very little while the possible impact is important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

” Many public health bodies are coming to the conclusion that using a face-covering may help in reducing the spread of SARS-CoV-2, and the restricted evidence readily available recommends their use doesnt have a negative effect on hand health,” included co-author Dr. James Rubin from the Department of Psychological Medicine, Kings College London.

The team also found 3 observational research studies that revealed individuals tended to move far from those wearing a mask, recommending that face coverings do not adversely affect physical distancing at least by those surrounding the wearer. They state that as none of these studies have actually been peer-reviewed, they need to be treated with caution.

The idea behind risk settlement is that people have a target level of danger they are comfortable with and they adjust their habits to keep that level threat. At a private level, threat payment is commonplace: for example, people run for longer to balance out an excitedly anticipated indulgent meal and a bicyclist may wear a helmet to cycle at speed.

A team led by Professor Dame Theresa Marteau at the Behaviour and Health Research Unit, University of Cambridge, has taken a look at the evidence for risk settlement to see whether concerns may be justified in the context of face coverings to lower transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Reference: “Is danger payment threatening public health in the covid-19 pandemic?” by Eleni Mantzari, G James Rubin, Theresa M Marteau, 27 July 2020, BMJ Analysis.DOI: 10.1136/ bmj.m2913.

However, early in the pandemic, the World Health Organization alerted that using face coverings might “create a false sense of security that can lead to disregarding other essential measures such as hand health practices.” This type of behavior is called “threat payment.”.

” The concept of threat settlement, rather than risk payment itself, appears the greater danger to public health through delaying possibly reliable interventions that can assist prevent the spread of disease,” said Professor Marteau.

In their article, the group argue that it is time to lay threat compensation theory to rest. Professor Barry Pless from McGill University, Montreal, Canada, when described it as “a dead horse that no longer needs to be beaten.” The authors go further, stating “this dead horse now requires burying to attempt to prevent the continued danger it presents to public health, from by slowing the adoption of more efficient interventions.”.

At a population level, proof for risk settlement is less clear. A commonly-cited example is the mandated using of bike helmets supposedly leading to a boost in the number of bike injuries and fatalities. At least 22 organized evaluations have evaluated the result of using a mask on transmission of respiratory infection infections. While none of the studies was designed to examine danger settlement or looked at social distancing, their results suggest that wearing masks does not lower the frequency of handwashing or hand sanitizing. In their article, the team argue that it is time to lay danger compensation theory to rest.