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A new study argues wearing masks means fewer coronavirus deaths

A new study argues wearing masks means fewer coronavirus deaths
/ Pollyana Ventura / E+ / Getty Images

A second study ranks Canada as one of the safest countries

There are various reasons why some countries have more Covid-19 cases than others but according to a recent study, the biggest difference-maker is the use of face masks.

The study looked at coronavirus death rates in 198 countries in order to determine why some had much higher cases and the results show that countries that quickly made widespread mask-wearing mandatory in public places have had far lower death rates and shorter outbreaks.

“What we found was that of the big variables that you can control which influence mortality, one was wearing masks,” says Christopher Leffler of Virginia Commonwealth University, one of the study’s authors. “It wasn’t just by a few per cent, it was up to a hundred times less mortality. The countries that introduced masks from the very beginning of their outbreak have had hardly any deaths.”

There have been a number of conflicting opinions on whether face masks can prevent Covid-19 from transmitting from one person to another, but many countries aren’t taking any risks. In fact, more than 50 countries require people to cover their faces in public places where social distancing is a challenge including Venezuela who was among the first countries to impose the mandatory use of face masks all the way back in the month of March.

“If you look at Latin America, Venezuela is an example where the very first day that they confirmed a case, the president demonstrated how to wear a mask on television. You can find around the world examples from many regions.”


Meanwhile, in Canada

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends wearing a non-medical mask or face-covering in public places, especially crowded ones when physical distancing is difficult to do— but as of right now, wearing masks in not mandatory here in the Great North. However, a national group of health-care professionals and epidemiologists called Masks4Canada have written an open letter to federal health officials asking them to make masks mandatory in certain places such as schools, libraries, community centres, stores, restaurants, and public transit.

The letter pointed to a recent poll that showed less than half of Canadians are wearing masks when they go out in public.

Canada ranked one of the world's safest countries

With that said, another recent study has ranked Canada as one of the safest countries in the world.

To assess the countries, analysts took into account “130 quantitative and qualitative parameters and more than 11,400 data for various categories, such as quarantine efficiency, government handling, hospital availability, but also protection against infection, mortality, and conducting audits – among others”.

Canada ranked 12th overall on the list but as far as quarantine efficiency is concerned, Canada is currently in 8th place.

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