Face masks: why maintain their use to save economic expenses | Coronavirus | International

Keep using face mask on closed public spaces until reaching population vaccination targets (at least 70% coverage), and even two to ten weeks later, it is cost-effective and could save cost, in addition to reducing hospitalizations and deaths from covid.

(See: Vaccination saved 22 thousand older adults in the country).

The lower the level of vaccination coverage of the population, the greater the economic and health benefits of maintaining the use of face masks, according to a study based on simulations of the spread of the virus. covid-19 in the United States and published in the magazine The Lancet Public Health.

The authors developed a computational model that represented the spread and impact of COVID-19 among the more than 327 million people in the United States and simulated the use of maintaining face coverings before and after reaching different levels of vaccination coverage in a wide variety of circumstances.

In all simulated scenarios, it was cost-effective to maintain mask use for two to 10 weeks after reaching population vaccination goals.

For example, if the United States reached a vaccination coverage of 90% by May 1, 2022, maintaining the use of masks until then would avoid $13.3 billion in societal costs and $2.4 billion in direct medical costs, as well as 6.29 million cases of covid-19, 136,700 hospitalizations and 16,000 deaths.

(See: Vaccination added US$43 billion to three pharmaceutical companies).

By comparison, 80% coverage would increase savings to $16.7 billion in societal costs, $2.9 billion in direct medical costs, and prevent 7.66 million cases, 174,900 hospitalizations, and 20,500 deaths.

Face mask

The study authors recommend continuing to wear face masks in closed spaces.


In recent weeks, many places in the United States have raised mask requirements for indoors, despite the fact that less than 70% of the population is fully vaccinated and less than 45% have received the booster, according to the study authors.

(See: These are the countries where it is mandatory to be vaccinated).

This work suggests that systematically maintaining the use of masks until reaching various thresholds of vaccination coverage and even between two and ten weeks later, could not only prevent a considerable number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, but also end saving companies money, the health system, insurance companies or taxpayers.

Our findings offer some light at the end of the tunnel, suggesting that mask wearing does not have to continue forever, but rather remains an important tool in stopping the spread of COVID-19 as we enter the next phase of the pandemic.“, says Peter Hotez, one of the authors.

(See: Two years with covid).

The model represents the US population, but the results may also be applicable to other countries.


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