Published: 18th November 2021
Strong evidence in The British Medical Journal advocating mask use, physical distancing even post-vaccination
The team analysed databases for studies that assessed the effectiveness of public health measures in reducing the incidence of COVID-19 transmission and mortality
A review of the latest evidence published in The British Medical Journal strongly recommends continued adherence to COVID-19 protocols even post-vaccination. Frequent handwashing with soap, mask-wearing and physical distancing are associated with a reduction in the incidence of the viral disease.
The review indicated a total of 53 per cent reduction in the incidence of COVID-19 with mask-wearing, handwashing and about 25 per cent reduction by physical distancing. However, experts said that more stringent measures, such as lockdowns and closures of borders, schools and workplaces need further assessment to weigh their potential negative effects on general populations.
The team, including researchers from Monash University in Australia, analysed databases for studies that assessed the effectiveness of public health measures in reducing the incidence of COVID-19 transmission and mortality. As many as 72 studies met their inclusion criteria, of which 35 evaluated individual public health measures and 37 assessed multiple public health measures. Out of the 35 studies of individual measures, 34 were observational and 1 was a randomised controlled trial. They were carried out in Asia (11), the US (9), Europe (7), West Asia (3), Africa (3), South America (1) and Australia (1).
The lead author from Monash University, Stella Talic, said that much more research is needed to assess the effectiveness of public health measures after adequate vaccination coverage.