Rationale for Mass Masking in Controlling the COVID-19 Pandemic

Shing Yau Tam, Victor C.W. Tam, Helen K.W. Law, May Ling Khaw, Shara W.Y. Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The rapid spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) into a global pandemic caught the world unprepared. Previously effective measures for containing disease outbreaks were overwhelmed, necessitating strict controls such as lockdowns or curfews. Among the disease control interventions, community mass masking was one of the highly controversial issues with differing opinions on its indications or effectiveness from different health authorities around the world. Regions where community mass masking was timely introduced were associated with lower transmission rates, and more effective disease control. In this article, we discuss the evidence on the effectiveness, and rationale for community mass masking to prevent the COVID-19 transmission. Areas for further research to define the role of mass masking in light of the COVID-19 pandemic will be suggested. This would help policy makers in formulating mass masking policies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number665708
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2021


  • COVID-19
  • face mask
  • infection control
  • mass masking
  • pandemic
  • public health
  • public health policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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