NHS England preparing annual Covid booster jab programme
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Lockdown life may have ended in the UK but the Covid pandemic is far from over. The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 is still rampant and infecting tens of thousands of people each day. According to the latest figures published by the Government, more than 44,000 people tested positive for Covid on Friday, and more than 281,000 tested positive in the last seven.
The ongoing effort to vaccinate the public has helped reduce the strain on the public health sector by reducing the number of hospitalisations and severe cases.
But the coronavirus remains a highly contagious threat that is unlikely to be ever eradicated, much like the flu.
A team of international researchers has now claimed mask-wearing is the single most effective measure the public can adopt to stop the virus from spreading.
According to the first-of-its-kind global study, face masks and covering can curb Covid incidence by up to 53 percent.
As of Thursday, more than 254,000 million people have tested positive for Covid, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The pandemic, which began late in 2019 in China, has claimed more than 5.1 million deaths, making it the deadliest disease outbreak of the 21st century.
Throughout this time, health officials across the board have recommended wearing face masks and coverings in public spaces, as well as more frequent and more thorough hand washing.
The coronavirus is spread on tiny respiratory droplets that are released when people talk, sneeze, cough or even breathe.
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Mask-wearing has, consequently, been touted as the easiest way of stopping people from releasing these droplets.
The new study’s authors have said that mask-wearing, social distancing and handwashing are all effective means of curbing Covid’s spread – but mask-wearing has edged out as the most effective measure.
Their findings were published in The BMJ, a peer-reviewed journal of the British Medical Association.
The study reads: “This systematic review and meta analysis suggests that several personal protective and social measures, including handwashing, mask wearing, and physical distancing are associated with reductions in the incidence of COVID-19.”
The study was carried out by researchers at Monash University in Australia and the University of Edinburgh.
The researchers analysed 37 other studies from around the globe, which have examined the impact of mask-wearing and handwashing.
They wrote: “Overall, 37 studies provided estimates on the effectiveness of multiple public health measures, assessed as a collective group.
“Studies were mostly conducted in Asia, the US, Europe, Africa, and South America.”
The study’s findings come amid reports of people under the age of 30 opting out of face masks.
According to data published by the Office of National Statistics, only 29 percent of under 30s in the UK wore a mask last week.
In stark comparison, about 71 percent of those aged 16 to 29 reported wearing one in public.
And about 96 percent of people over the age of 70 wore one as well.
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