The effectiveness of community face mask use for the prevention of COVID-19 transmission and infection

Face mask use within schools has been suggested as a COVID-19 risk mitigation strategy, but the effectiveness of mask use as protection against COVID-19 transmission and infection in a school setting is currently unknown. This Rapid Review assesses the evidence on the impact of community mask use on the susceptibility to and transmission of COVID-19, and how mask use compliance affects mask effectiveness. Thirty-one studies were included in the review. There was insufficient evidence to quantify the effectiveness of face mask use, but there appears to be a general consensus among all studies that mask use within the community reduced the number of COVID-19 cases within a population. No studies were found that assessed the use of masks in a school setting or the effectiveness of and compliance with mask use in children specifically. There is great deal of uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of mask use within schools, and the results should be interpreted cautiously, and should be contextualized for decision making.

Publication Type: Rapid Reviews

Year of Publication: 2020

Topics: COVID-19

Authors: Lindsey Warkentin, Erica Wright, Bing Guo, Ken Bond

ISBN (online): 978-1-989429-01-3