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VERIFY: Yes, masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19

According to the CDC, non-valved multi-layer cloth masks can significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — While out at a Gaston County School Board meeting, some parents claimed masks don't work in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Our VERIFY team looked into the claim. 

THE QUESTION

Do masks work to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

Yes, masks can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

WHAT WE FOUND

After several studies from around the globe, the CDC found in a May 2021 scientific brief that masks are a key tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

"Cloth masks not only effectively block most large droplets (i.e., 20-30 microns and larger), but they can also block the exhalation of fine droplets and particles (also often referred to as aerosols) smaller than 10 microns," the report said. 

The report went on to say, "Multi-layer cloth masks can both block up to 50-70% of these fine droplets and particles."

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Dr. Passaretti noted a well-fitted mask also makes a difference. 

"The mask that is closer fitting does a better job of protecting you and those around you from your respiratory secretions," Dr. Passaretti said. 

The CDC did note that multiple-layered masks, or wearing more than one mask is better than a single-layer mask. 

"Multiple layers of cloth with higher thread counts have demonstrated superior performance compared to single layers of cloth with lower thread counts, in some cases filtering nearly 50% of fine particles less than 1 micron," the scientific brief read.

RELATED: 'It's important to mask and vaccinate' | Mecklenburg County health leaders recommending wearing masks, but not issuing new mask mandate

Research surrounding masks also debunked claims that masks have dangerous or negative health effects on people. 

The report concluded that masks have 'no significant adverse health effects for wearers,' and that 'mask use has been found to be safe and is not associated with clinically significant impacts on respiration or gas exchange.' 

Contact Hunter Sáenz at hsaenz@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.