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Face masks for the public during the covid-19 crisis


Greenhalgh, Trisha; Schmid, Manuel B; Czypionka, Thomas; Bassler, Dirk; Gruer, Laurence (2020). Face masks for the public during the covid-19 crisis. BMJ : British medical journal, (369):m1435.

Abstract

The precautionary principle is, according to Wikipedia, “a strategy for approaching issues of potential harm when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking.” The evidence base on the efficacy and acceptability of the different types of face mask in preventing respiratory infections during epidemics is sparse and contested (1,2). But covid-19 is a serious illness that currently has no known treatment or vaccine and is spreading in an immune naive population. Deaths are rising steeply, and health systems are under strain.
This raises an ethical question: should policy makers apply the precautionary principle now and encourage people to wear face masks on the grounds that we have little to lose and potentially something to gain from this measure? (3) We believe they should.

Abstract

The precautionary principle is, according to Wikipedia, “a strategy for approaching issues of potential harm when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking.” The evidence base on the efficacy and acceptability of the different types of face mask in preventing respiratory infections during epidemics is sparse and contested (1,2). But covid-19 is a serious illness that currently has no known treatment or vaccine and is spreading in an immune naive population. Deaths are rising steeply, and health systems are under strain.
This raises an ethical question: should policy makers apply the precautionary principle now and encourage people to wear face masks on the grounds that we have little to lose and potentially something to gain from this measure? (3) We believe they should.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neonatology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > General Medicine
Language:English
Date:9 April 2020
Deposited On:23 Apr 2020 12:34
Last Modified:06 May 2020 20:15
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN:0959-535X
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1435
PubMed ID:32273267

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