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Are Face Masks Useful Against the Epidemic? Political and Scientific Questions

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Are face masks useful against the Covid-19 epidemic? As obvious, it depends on various factors: the WHO says there is no scientific evidence of a benefit from the generalised use of masks by "healthy people in the community." But it is also stated that masks are beneficial when used in special conditions. Here, I tell you what I found about the scientific literature, but first I'll discuss how people tend to approach the problem according to their political views.This is a modified version of a post that appeared in Italian on "Effetto Cassandra"The Covid-19 epidemic is winding down in Italy, just like everywhere in Europe. The data indicate that the average mortality in most countries has been below average during the past three weeks, at least, and the curve shows no signs of picking up again. In Italy, there are still a few scattered cases, mostly in Northern Italy, but the numbers are minuscule. On all counts, the epidemic is over.As a consequence, the use of face masks is not mandatory anymore in most regions of Italy, except inside shops, buses, and other crowded places. I expected that people walking in the streets would gladly shed their masks and enjoy the fresh air of these last weeks of spring, but many didn't. An informal measurement that I made during the past few days shows that if you take a walk in Florence you'll see a good 30% of the people still wearing masks tightly fitted on their faces. Another 30%-40% wear the mask loose on their face, leaving free the nose and often also the mouth. The rest don't wear masks at all.Curiously, wearing or not wearing the mask seems to be linked to political opinions. In the US, it has been noted that the use of masks is more widespread in "blue states" than in "red states," those supporting Trump. Even more surprisingly, the mortality in red states is lower than in blue states (of course, that's not necessarily linked to the use of masks).In Italy, things seem to be similar. I have no statistical data, but from. . .

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News source: Cassandra's Legacy

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