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St. Paul’s researcher on masks and physical distancing: they work
Last month, in the course of a week, more than three dozen researchers from around the world pored over 172 studies on COVID-19, hoping to determine just how well physical distancing, face masks and eye protection work. The deadline was extremely tight, unheard of in the world of research. But for St. Paul’s Hospital infectious disease specialist Dr. David Harris and his colleagues, this was urgent. The World Health Organization (WHO) had commissioned the study, hoping to get clarity so it could prepare recommendations.
The conclusion: they work.
The results were published in The Lancet last week. The WHO updated its guidelines a few days later, now advising governments to encourage the general public to wear masks as part of a comprehensive COVID-19 strategy when physical distancing is not possible.
Dr. David Harris says, “No one had systematically appraised all that literature before. It was an honour to be involved in this huge international effort.”