The coronavirus pandemic has affected almost all countries around the world but some have been hit harder than others. In fact, a number of countries controlled coronavirus transmission and were able to reopen after a three-months lockdown while others are still struggling with daily increases in coronavirus cases on a daily basis.
According to health experts, the difference between the countries is primarily due to the governments’ response and action. For example, the government of New Zealand imposed a three months lockdown regardless of the low number of cases right after the first few cases were diagnosed, due to which it almost coronavirus-free.
On the other hand, health experts and the general public in the US have criticized the government with slow response to the pandemic why is the reason why the virus was able to spread quickly through the east to the west coast.
Even today, the number of cases of coronavirus along with the death toll is very high in the US even after months of staying in lockdown. This is because a vast majority of Americans have stopped following preventive measures by official health agencies while assuming the end of lockdown means the virus is no longer a threat.
Previous research showed that lockdowns around the world prevented millions of new coronavirus cases. A new study now shows that the most important preventive measure which played a fundamental role in lowering coronavirus transmission was wearing a mask for coronavirus.
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The researchers in the new study examined the spread of the coronavirus in nearly one hundred and ninety-eight countries to see why some countries had a very high death toll which other countries were able to control the transmission.
Christopher Leffler from the Virginia Commonwealth University, who was one of the authors of the study, explained “What we found was that of the big variables that you can control which influence mortality, one was wearing masks,”
He added “It wasn’t just by a few percent, it was up to a hundred times less mortality. The countries that introduced masks from the very beginning of their outbreak have had hardly any deaths.”
The majority of the countries with the lowest death rates were seen to be those located in South East Asia. Japan and South Korea, in particular, had very few coronavirus-related casualties. Both of the countries had mandated wearing a mask for coronavirus in the early days of the pandemic.
Other examples of countries that mandated the use of a mask for coronavirus include Macau, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Taiwan. Some countries outside of Asia were also able to reduce the death rate by imposing similar restrictions including the Czech Republic, Venezuela in Latin America, and Slovakia.
The example of Venezuela is the most surprising, according to health experts as it has avoided the coronavirus to a significant extent. In comparison, Venezuela’s neighbor, Brazil, is one of the hardest-hit and is among the countries with the highest death toll.
Masks have been deemed to be extremely useful especially during epidemics, in accordance with the results of previous studies. The quality of masks does not matter. Even wearing homemade fabric masks can a big difference. This is why all health agencies have encouraged wearing a mask for coronavirus even after the end of lockdown.