A study conducted in China shows that wearing a face mask before symptoms appear can reduce contamination by the new coronavirus by up to 79% among members of the same family.
Wearing a mask at home can help reduce the spread of the new coronavirus among family members. According to an article published by Chinese researchers in the British Medical Journal in May, wearing the accessory before symptoms appear can decrease Covid-19 transmission by up to 79% among family members living together.
To reach this conclusion, the researchers interviewed 460 people from 124 families in Beijing, China, about their personal hygiene habits and domestic behavior during the pandemic. In each home, at least one person had tested positive for Covid-19.
During the 14-day period after diagnosis, secondary transmission occurred in 41 of the 124 families (an index of 23%). According to experts, the daily use of disinfectants, the opening of windows, and the distance of at least one meter between the residents of the house were associated with a lower risk of transmission of the virus, even in busier homes.
But what caught the attention of the researchers is that daily contact, and the number of family members who wore a mask after the onset of symptoms in the first person, interfered with the number of people infected in each household. Starting to use the accessory before diagnosis was even more effective: in the families that adopted the practice, the contamination rate decreased by 79%.
Factors associated with a higher rate of transmission
Other factors have been associated with an increased rate of transmission of the new coronavirus indoors. One of them is diarrhea: when the first one infected with Covid-19 had this symptom, the risk of spreading the disease among family members was higher. Close daily contact, such as eating meals at the table or watching TV together, also deserves attention, as it increased the risk of transmitting the disease at home by 18 times.
“This study confirms the highest risk of household transmission being prior to symptom onset, but that precautionary [non-pharmaceutical interventions], such as mask use, disinfection and social distancing in households can prevent COVID-19 transmission during the pandemic,” wrote the researchers in a statement.