Do Masks Work? New Cochrane Review on Masking Efficacy

Let's dive into some of the most recent evidence from randomized controlled trials, explore the idea of evidence-based medicine, and see where we stand.

Do Masks Work? New Cochrane Review on Masking Efficacy
Photo by Mika Baumeister / Unsplash

Ahh yes, masks! Remember those? Depending on where you're currently located, masks might still be worn by everyone around you. In other areas, you'll only occasionally see someone wearing a mask at the supermarket. What does the evidence say about it?

The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews recently published an updated review of physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. For those who are unaware of Cochrane Reviews, it's a gold standard in high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making. These reviews would have been shoved down your throat in medical information classes or courses requiring literature searches, and they're nearly always mentioned when learning about the hierarchy of evidence.

If you're unfamiliar with said hierarchy, take a peek below for an oversimplified explanation. A basic understanding of this is crucial for anyone taking evidence-based medicine (EBM) seriously.