Yes they do! A study conducted by a team of researchers led by a professor at Texas A&M University found that not wearing a face mask dramatically increases a person’s chances of being infected with the VOCID-19 virus.
Renyi Zhang, emeritus professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M and Harold Haynes Chair at the School of Earth Sciences, and colleagues at Texas A&M University, the University of California San Diego, and the California Institute of Technology published his work in the current issue of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).
The team investigated the chances of infection with VOCID-19 and how the virus is easily transmitted from person to person. Based on the trends and mitigation procedures in China, Italy and New York, the researchers found that the use of a face mask reduced the number of infections by more than 78,000 in Italy from April 6 to May 9 and by more than 66,000 in New York from April 17 to May 9.
“Our results clearly show that airborne transmission via respiratory aerosols is the dominant route for the spread of VOCID-19,” said Zhang. “Analyzing pandemic trends without a face mask using a statistical method and projecting this trend, we estimate that in just over a month, more than 66,000 infections were prevented with a face mask in New York City. We concluded that the use of a mask in public is consistent with the most effective means of preventing transmission from human to human.
“This cheap practice, combined with social distancing and other procedures, is the most likely opportunity to stop the OVID-19 pandemic. Our work also emphasizes that sound science is essential for making decisions about current and future public health pandemics”.