Cloth masks in public places: An essential intervention to prevent COVID-19 in Brazil

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There is increasing evidence that the use of masks is an indispensable protective measure against COVID-19, given the high transmissibility of the new coronavirus through the respiratory system, including by asymptomatic individuals. The use of cloth masks in public places has been established as a protective measure to be adopted alongside social distancing and hand hygiene. This narrative review aims to systematize the scientific evidence that informs the widespread use of cloth masks as a preventive measure against COVID-19 and to describe the evolution of positions contrary to or in favor of its use outside the home, in view of the advance of the new coronavirus pandemic globally. The scientific articles, technical notes, governmental decrees and other documents analyzed indicate that widespread use of masks has the potential to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus. We recommend that the Brazilian government adopt strategies to increase the supply of reusable cloth masks to the public, especially to vulnerable populations and to support studies on the impact of this measure to control the pandemic in the country. Finally, it is imperative to ensure that use of masks does not exacerbate stigmatization of racial groups that already face prejudice.




Ortelan, N., Ferreira, A. J. F., Leite, L., Pescarini, J. M., Souto, A. C., Barreto, M. L., & Aquino, E. M. L. (2021). Cloth masks in public places: An essential intervention to prevent COVID-19 in Brazil. Ciencia e Saude Coletiva, 26(2), 669–692.

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