The Task Team for the College of Public Health Medicine has released its third guidance document on COVID-19. This document examines the role of widespread Medical Masking in community and household setting for the reduction of community transmission of COVID-19. While medical masks are in short supply and are, in terms of current policy, reserved for health workers, the situation may change in future so this rapid review provides guidance should medical masking at community level be considered as a measure for community-level interventions to reduce COVID-19 spread.
The review found that medical masks may only be slightly beneficial in preventing the transmission from individuals who are ill in the household setting and consideration should be made for provision of these, without reducing PPE resources to healthcare workers, though the evidence is of low certainty. No strong evidence was found for medical masking use in prevention of transmission at community level. Where medical masking is used, it must be in conjunction with other infection prevention and control measures.