Finally, A Randomized Trial of Mask Wearing

Paul Shafer is an assistant professor of Health Law, Policy, and Management at the Boston University School of Public Health. He tweets @shaferpr.

A recent article I published in Tradeoffs looks at a recent working paper of a randomized intervention designed to increase mask wearing in rural Bangladesh. Given that COVID-19 cases are back on the rise and vaccination rates remain low, I also discuss what these findings might mean for the United States.

In it, I write:

The study also weighed in on two other hotly debated questions about masks. First, the intervention increased physical distancing by 5 percentage points (24.1% versus 29.2%), countering concerns that increased mask wearing may lead to more risky social behavior. Second, the study provided suggestive evidence that surgical masks may be more effective in the real world at reducing COVID-19 spread than cloth masks, building upon prior lab-based studies.

Read the full piece at Tradeoffs!

Research for this piece was supported by Arnold Ventures.

Hidden information below


Email Address*