Does this finally put the mask debate to bed? 'Gold standard' analysis of 78 studies and 1million people finds face coverings made 'little to no difference' to Covid infection or death rates
The research - carried out by the Cochrane Institute , the 'gold standard' of evidence-based reviews, looked at 78 global studies involving over a million people. Results indicated that surgical masks reduced the risk of catching 'Covid or a flu-like illness' by just five percent - a figure so low it may not be statistically significant. The researchers said harms caused by masks - including hampering children's schooling - were poorly measured in the studies, meaning any small benefit of masks on infection rates may be outweighed. Professor Francois Balloux, a professor of computational biology at University College London, who was not part of the analysis, said it showed that the benefit of wearing masks is 'at best small'.