Scientific review of the usefulness and safety of wearing a face mask to prevent Sars-cov‑2 in the general population

Health authorities around the world have made face masks mandatory in public places, schools, streets, stores and all healthcare services, in the hope of stemming the contagion linked to SARS-Cov 2. The mask has become much more than just another non-pharmaceutical measure to curb viral transmission. It has become, without doubt, the symbol of the epidemic, the objectification of the presence of an invisible virus. But does it have the slightest effect on viral transmission, and is it really safe? This article does not deal with the special case of patients with severe diseases or who are profoundly immunocompromised. Their singularity escapes the results formulated for the general population by scientific studies. The use of masks for these patients as a preventive treatment against respiratory infection needs to be discussed on an individual basis during a medical consultation. Clear, fair and appropriate information will enable an individualized balance of benefits and risks. …

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