A Danish study of the effects of wearing masks on contracting COVID-19, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine will probably have varying interpretations:
A total of 3030 participants were randomly assigned to the recommendation to wear masks, and 2994 were assigned to control; 4862 completed the study. Infection with SARS-CoV-2 occurred in 42 participants recommended masks (1.8%) and 53 control participants (2.1%). The between-group difference was −0.3 percentage point (95% CI, −1.2 to 0.4 percentage point; P = 0.38) (odds ratio, 0.82 [CI, 0.54 to 1.23]; P = 0.33). Multiple imputation accounting for loss to follow-up yielded similar results. Although the difference observed was not statistically significant, the 95% CIs are compatible with a 46% reduction to a 23% increase in infection.
depending on your political views. My interpretation is that although wearing masks is not useless its utility is quite limited and very possibly offset by changes in behavior on the part of people wearing masks. Or, as I have been contending for months, they’re being oversold.
I think that the present administration has been remiss in not showing a good example but rather pooh-poohing mask use but pleas for national mandates are misplaced as well. Possibly the greatest utility of masks is to convince people they’re doing something personally to contribute to the “war effort”. Combined with an organized public relations campaign, aimed less at shaming people than at encouraging them, more wearing of masks might help a little and, again combined with a public relations campaign, it isn’t particularly harmful.
To me the bottom line is that it is unlikely that the present resurgence in cases of COVID-19 can be attributed to insufficient mask-wearing or opening restaurants.