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TFP #259 – Unmasking the evidence around masks for healthcare workers

Clinical Question: Is there a difference between mask types in preventing viral respiratory infections for healthcare workers?

Bottom Line: In healthcare workers;

  • Surgical masks and respirators (N95) appear to provide similar protection against viral infections, with N95 masks having slightly lower, but not statistically different, infection rates in the wearer (~1-2%). 
  • Cloth masks are less effective than surgical masks (with ~2% more respiratory infections in 4 weeks).
  • No randomized controlled trials examined transmission from healthcare workers to others and none examined COVID-19.
  • Masks are just one-part of Personal Protective Equipment and transmission precautions.  

To read the full article, click here.

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