Two hairstylists at a salon in Missouri who were infected with the coronavirus were able to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to nearly 140 clients thanks to the use of face masks, according to new research.
In an editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association or JAMA, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed the latest findings and affirmed that cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 that could reduce the spread of the disease.
The CDC noted that the findings add to increasing evidence that cloth face coverings help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.
On May 12, a hair stylist at a salon in Springfield, Missouri developed respiratory symptoms and continued working with clients for eight days until May 20, when she received a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
A second hair stylist, who had been exposed to the first hair stylist, developed respiratory symptoms on May 15. She worked with clients at the salon until May 20 before seeking testing for SARS-CoV-2, which returned a positive result on May 22.
Following this, the salon was closed for three days to disinfect frequently touched and contaminated areas.
The Greene County Health Department performed contact tracing and identified a total of 139 clients who were directly serviced by the two stylists from the time they developed symptoms until they took leave from work.
No symptomatic secondary cases were reported among the 139 clients and the results of 67 clients who volunteered to be tested were also negative.
Both stylists wore double-layered cloth face coverings or surgical masks when seeing clients, while their clients also wore face coverings.
“The finding adds to a growing body of evidence that cloth face coverings provide source control – that is, they help prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading COVID-19 to others,” the CDC said.
The agency noted that as stay-at-home orders are lifted, professional and social interactions in the community will present more opportunities for spread of SARS-CoV-2. However, broader implementation of face covering policies could mitigate the spread of infection in the general population.
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