By: CaraG @exclusivelycarag

A recent Danish study, known as the Danish Study to Assess Face Masks for the Protection Against COVID-19 Infection, proved that masks didn’t have a large protective effect for mask wearers. The study did not investigate whether masks prevented those who have COVID-19 from infecting other people and should not be used as evidence not to wear a mask.

In early summer, the first-ever randomized controlled trial requiring face masks and the virus to report results. Participants included around 6,000 people who left their home for about three hours per day. About half of the participants were provided with a box of surgical masks to wear while outside their homes. The other half of the participants were not given masks. Danish authorities did not recommend masks to the general public at the time of the study, so both groups encountered people who were likely not masked. Both groups were told to abide by COVID-19 public health procedures, which included social distancing, avoiding crowds, and frequent hand washing.

The report showed that after only 30 days, 42 people in the mask-wearing group had been infected with the virus, measured by at-home finger-prick antibody tests, compared with 53 people, or 2.1%, in the control group. Fewer people in the masked group were infected; the difference between the two groups was not statistically significant. The results could likely have come about by chance.

Although the study’s outcome showcased a small protective effect for mask wearers, it doesn’t mean that masks provide no protection or don’t benefit other people. The study only focused on masks’ potential to guard the wearer, not the potential for masks to reduce the spread of the virus to others if one is already infected. Other studies have found face masks to have an impact on controlling the spread of COVID-19.