An editorial published following the study's publication said that the "findings reinforce the importance of social distancing and hygiene measures and suggest that masks likely need to be worn by most if not all people to reduce community infection rates, which in turn will protect individuals".
But the findings of their study conflict with the number of studies about the protection that face masks offer to the wearers.
"If you think about the history, you know the surgical mask was invented not to protect the surgeon, but to protect the patient from the surgeon; you know, coughing into the open surgical wounds and causing infection in the patient", Laine says.
About 4,860 participants completed the study.
There is no doubt that the incoming Biden-Harris administration will take a much stronger stance in proposing people wear masks to combat the spread of the Coronavirus.
As such, the study can not be used to draw conclusions on the general merits of using face masks as an effective preventative measure against Covid-19 infection, the researchers admitted.
And in July, the CDC stressed that cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19, particularly when everyone wears them.
Researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital divided the participants into two groups; the masked and the unmasked, all of whom were asked to spend at least three hours per day outside their home. In an email Dr. Bundgaard sent to The New York Times, she wrote that "although there might be a symbolic effect".
Biden, now president-elect, has said repeatedly that there should be a nationwide mask mandate. Third, the study did not examine the effects of face masks in situations where it is not possible to maintain social distancing. The researchers expected that wearing face masks would help cut the infection rate into half. Instead, 1.8% of the mask-wearers got infected, compared to 2.1% of the group told not to wear masks. This means that the difference is not statistically significant.
Dr. Mette Kalager, a professor of medical decision-making at the University of Oslo, found the research compelling.
The result of the study showed that the information that the mask reduces the risk of contracting coronavirus in half was not confirmed. Therefore, these results can not be used in the context of the fact that masks do not need to be worn at all.
'The question this study was created to answer is: Do they work as personal protection?
Dr. Frieden also added that an N95 mask is better than a surgical mask.
But when BOTH people are wearing masks, that produced the best result. "A cloth mask is better than nothing".
Either way, experts say masks, while helpful, are not ideal.
A woman wearing a mask is seen passing through the security exit.
Health officials said cloth masks block droplets from being exhaled by the wearer and also provide "filtration for personal protection" by preventing droplets from reaching others. Dr. Thomas Frieden, chief executive of Resolve to Save Lives, an advocacy group, and former director of the C.D.C., said, "There is absolutely no doubt that masks work as source control, preventing people from infecting others".