Why The Danish Face-Mask Study Should Be The Topic of The Day

O.T. Paynter-Wells
2 min readNov 24, 2020
Photo by Hans Reniers on Unsplash

A randomised-controlled study conducted between the months of April-May in Denmark has concluded that: ‘recommendation to wear a surgical mask when outside the home among others did not reduce, at conventional levels of statistical significance, incident SARS-CoV-2 infection compared with no mask recommendation.’ — (Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers: A Randomized Controlled Trial: Annals of Internal Medicine: Vol 0, No 0 (acpjournals.org)

This is coming at a time when governments across the globe have brought in mandates on compulsory face coverings in public spaces despite many of their officials refuting the efficacy of face coverings earlier on in the year. Although, as with most studies, this data out of Denmark isn’t conclusive and doesn’t invalidate the use of masks in all spaces (i.e. public transport where it is hard to maintain a safe distance from those around you), it can help assure those who anxiously wear masks outside or in open spaces, that the increase in contraction potential when no mask is worn is negligible — 0.3% to be exact.

The publishing of this study is so important as it provides an alternative and reasoned perspective on the hegemonic mask-endorsing narrative we are bombarded with in the media. It doesn’t make unsubstantiated statements like ‘face masks are never/always effective’ but depicts the truth which is, as is most often the case, more balanced. Masks are effective at limiting the spread of the virus in close environments (although stats indicate this is untrue in the home), but they function poorly as a contraction inhibitor out in the community. Perhaps governments should pay close attention to these findings before mandating mask use in their jurisdictions and instating harsh penalties on those that neglect to obey their commands.

One last thing to note is; whilst the effectiveness of mask wearing on limiting the spread of the contagion is mediocre and much debated, the negative effects on individual liberties and political relations caused by their imposition is far more obvious. Perhaps we should tread carefully down this road and, whilst adhering to reason and remaining open-minded, not be so quick to accept such impositions .

--

--