The Outbreak Management Team (OMT) again stated yesterday that there is no scientific evidence to support a broad mouth mask obligation. But the study to which they referred has long led to new insights, which actually support a mouth mask obligation.
The research was done in Norway and therefore only applicable to that country or in a country with similar circumstances. One of the factors that makes the Netherlands different from Norway is the population density. In the Netherlands people live much closer together. So the conclusion that the OMT and RIVM refer to, that for every 114,000 inhabitants who wear a mask for a week, only one infection will be prevented, cannot be applied one-to-one to the Netherlands.
Wearing mouth masks would cause people to distance themselves more. But the study also showed the number of infected people with no symptoms significantly underestimated. This means that in a densely populated environment, mouth masks may be able to protect more people, especially if people without symptoms also wear mouth masks. They can infect others, even then.
It is really unbelievable that the OMT and RIVM will continue to stick to this. If small drops are less and especially dangerous indoors, and large drops provide the bulk of the number of infections, then a mask is better than nothing at all? In any case, it stops the big drops from coughing and sneezing. Statistically, you could prevent many more infections, especially in a busy environment such as the Netherlands. Especially when little or no distance can be kept.
We will have to keep our finger on the pulse in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, see how it unfolds there. And in the meantime, just hope that it is not too late.
You upgrade the articles DagelijkseStandaard.nl? Then follow us Twitter!