Modelling the potential impact of mask use in schools and society on COVID-19 control in the UK

J. Panovska-Griffiths, C.C. Kerr, W. Waites, R.M. Stuart, D. Mistry, D. Foster, D.J. Klein, R.M. Viner, C. Bonell

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Received date: 7th October 2020

Recent findings suggest that an adequate test-trace-isolate (TTI) strategy is needed to prevent a secondary COVID-19 wave with the reopening of society in the UK. Here we assess the potential importance of mandatory masks in the parts of community and in secondary schools. We show that, assuming current TTI levels, adoption of masks in secondary schools in addition to community settings can reduce the size of a second wave, but will not prevent it; more testing of symptomatic people, tracing and isolating of their contacts is also needed. To avoid a second wave, with masks mandatory in secondary schools and in certain community settings, under current tracing levels, 68% or 46% of those with symptomatic infection would need to be tested if masks’ effective coverage were 15% or 30% respectively, compared to 76% and 57% if masks are mandated in community settings but not secondary schools.

Read in full at medRxiv.

This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on a preprint server, which is currently undergoing peer review at Scientific Reports. The findings have yet to be thoroughly evaluated, nor has a decision on ultimate publication been made. Therefore, the results reported should not be considered conclusive, and these findings should not be used to inform clinical practice, or public health policy, or be promoted as verified information.

Scientific Reports

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