Masks and social distancing can help control the coronavirus but hand washing and other measures are still needed, a new analysis finds.
Researchers concluded single-layer cloth masks are less effective than surgical masks, while tight-fitting N95 masks provide the best protection. A distance of 1 meter (more than 3 feet) between people lowers the danger of catching the virus, while 2 meters (about 6 1/2 feet) is even better.
Eye protection such as eyeglasses or goggles can help too. None of the strategies work perfectly and more rigorous studies are needed, according to the analysis published Monday.
With the coronavirus still new, health officials have relied on studies involving its cousins, severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome. The findings come from a systematic review of 44 studies, including seven involving the virus causing COVID-19. The remaining focused on SARS or MERS.
“This puts all that information clearly