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Wearing a mask cuts the number of new COVID-19 infections by 53%, according to a new peer-reviewed Study In british medical journal, which found controversial and highly politicized to be the single most effective tool against the coronavirus.

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Wearing masks, social distancing and hand washing are all effective in reducing the number of new COVID-19 cases, according to an analysis of evidence from 72 global studies looking at non-pharmaceutical public health measures.

The study found that wearing a mask was the most effective public health measure to reduce the incidence of COVID-19, while physical distancing was reduced by 25%.

Hand washing was found to reduce the incidence of coronavirus by 53%, although the researchers noted that the finding was not statistically significant because of the small number of studies that assessed hand washing.

The researchers said it was not possible to evaluate other public health measures – including quarantines, lockdowns and school closures – because of differences in the way studies assess these interventions are designed and conducted.

While the evidence points to the effectiveness of these more stringent measures, the researchers said the restrictions are not sustainable, have significant economic and social impacts and should be assessed “carefully” to weigh potential positives against negatives.

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