Study: Wearing mask at home may stop coronavirus spread better than using bleach

7 Signs You Need a New Face Mask

Researchers say key is wearing a mask before anyone in family shows symptoms of infection

Wearing a mask at home can be nearly 80% effective at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, a new study from China suggests. The key is to begin wearing masks before anyone shows symptoms.

The study, published Thursday in BMJ Global Health, found the practice is slightly more effective than cleaning the house with bleach and disinfectants.

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Bleach is 77% effective at stopping the spread of the coronavirus, but the study found wearing a mask was 79% effective.

"This study confirms the highest risk of household transmission being prior to symptom onset, but that precautionary [non-pharmaceutical interventions], such as mask use, disinfection and social distancing in households can prevent Covid-19 transmission during the pandemic," the study reads.

For the new study, researchers called people in 124 families who were living with a coronavirus victim. Scientists asked the 460 people about their behaviors during the pandemic and about their family’s hygiene.

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The scientists learned that in 41 families, the first infected person passed the coronavirus to another family member.

CNN reported that families who disinfected their homes, opened their windows and stayed 3 feet apart lowered the risk of spreading the virus.

Families who engaged in close daily contact, however, saw an 18-fold increased risk. And, the study found, if family members waited to wear masks until someone got sick, the risk remained high.

"This is an important paper because it comes at a time when — as lockdown is eased — the risk of a person entering the home who has become infected (e.g. whilst on public transport or in the workplace) but is unaware that this is so, is increasing," professor Sally Bloomfield of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said in a statement, according to CNN.

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Antonio Lazzarino at the University College London, however, told CNN the study isn’t enough to make an official recommendation.

"This study is not robust science, as it has several limitations in the conception and in the statistical analysis," he said in a statement. "The main limitation is that it was designed at the family level, rather than at the individual level."

Lazzarino also said the study never mentioned what kind of masks family members wore, which could affect the findings.

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