Studies show that masks can reduce covid cases by up to 20%, says Opas

Photo: Roberta Aline

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) emphasized the importance of measures such as the use of masks and social distancing, in order to reduce cases of covid-19. During a press conference, the entity’s assistant director, Jarbas Barbosa, stated that studies show that the use of masks alone can reduce cases of the disease by 10% to 20%. “Vaccination and measures such as the use of masks bring the end of the pandemic closer,” said Barbosa, who said that it is not possible now to estimate when the pandemic will end.

Director of PAHO, Carissa Etienne said that in the last week there were 1.5 million cases and almost 20,000 deaths by covid-19 in the Americas.

According to her, hospitalizations for the virus have retreated in South America, but cases remain at a “high level” in the region. She acknowledged that limited availability of vaccines remains an important issue in the current framework.

Etienne said the priority now is to expand vaccination around the world to cover the groups most vulnerable to the disease, such as the elderly and health professionals.

She said that countries should aim for vaccination coverage of 80% or more of the population, as that would be the level to control transmissions, according to models that study the current pandemic.

Etienne also said that PAHO now has no evidence to defend a third dose of vaccine as a booster. She commented that there are ongoing studies on the subject and that reinforcement could be indicated only for some groups, such as the immunocompromised or the elderly.

Source: Estadão Content