- When it comes to preventing the spread of respiratory infections, N-95 masks might be better than surgical face masks, and surgical face masks are probably better than cloth masks.
- Cloth masks may not provide any protection at all.
- If you or someone in your household is sick, you probably don’t need to bother wearing a mask at home. The infection will spread at the same rate within the household regardless.
- Face masks do seem to slightly decrease the risk of spreading respiratory infections outside the household setting. However, it is questionable whether an intervention that only impacts one in 24 people, and that only decreases the relative risk of infection by 17%, is having a big enough effect to noticeably slow the speed at which a highly infectious disease like covid-19 spreads through a population.
- Rather than require that everyone wear a mask at all times when out in public, it might make more sense to restrict mask use to specific situations like nursing homes.