Mask or no mask? That is the question in the age of corona

Researchers now believe asymptomatic people could be carriers of the disease.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

As the coronavirus continues to infect and kill thousands worldwide, many healthy people have begun wearing some sort of mask in public to further protect themselves and others from the deadly disease.

But are these measures really necessary for healthy people?

Researchers now believe asymptomatic people could be carriers of the disease, so wearing a mask in public to protect others is advisable.

“One of the [pieces of] information that we have pretty much confirmed now is that a significant number of individuals that are infected actually remain asymptomatic,” CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield told NPR last Monday. “That may be as many as 25 percent.”

“That’s important, because now you have individuals that may not have any symptoms that can contribute to transmission, and we have learned that in fact they do contribute to transmission,” he said.

Other experts don’t believe there is enough scientific evidence that masks are effective enough in public settings to warrant a governmental recommendation.

“If we look at the public health side — in Western countries, not in Asia — lots of the messaging reflects that these masks aren’t going to help you,” Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a Canadian physician and scientist in infectious diseases, told The Canadian Press on Friday

“I think we need to be a bit more honest and transparent that there is some data that would demonstrate some potential benefit of masks.”

According to Bogoch, wearing a mask can be counterproductive as many people feel a false sense of security, believing it is the best form of protection. Therefore, the risk of violating stronger scientifically backed coronavirus protective safeguards, such as social distancing and touching one’s face, is much higher.

Despite all of this, Bogoch did say that as long as healthy people are prudent, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“If you want to wear a mask, go for it,” Bogoch said. “But just be mindful of what the possible benefits are and what the possible limitations are, and be realistic.”