So far, social distancing and hand hygiene are apparently effective at preventing coronavirus transmissions. Face masks, on the other hand, are still being studied. Some state that only those who are diagnosed with COVID-19 should wear one. However, most public health officials urge everyone to use it whenever they are out in public. Now, a viral disease expert weighs in on the matter and suggests that people should approach the matter like condoms.

Even as medical experts share their findings to bolster defences against coronavirus infections, some are still unsure which precautionary measures work and which ones do not. Ongoing studies show that there are still some nuances about SARS-CoV-2 that need to be discovered.

"If a substantial amount of transmission occurs before people feel sick, how do you stop that? By the time people feel sick and seek care, all the testing and isolation in the world would be too little, too late," said University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher David O'Connor.

An example illustrated involves HIV, which can spread even if there are no symptoms that manifest at the beginning. Condom usage creates a barrier that stops it from spreading to another individual. As such, face mask functions the same way and should "be worn consistently and correctly to prevent transmission of COVID-19." The Mirror notes that an estimated 100 leading doctors signed and published a letter about the alarming number of individuals who choose not to wear face masks in public.

In hospitals, all personnel and patients are required to wear face masks even in waiting rooms to reduce the likelihood of infection from airborne particles. Some of the notable doctors who are supporting the Masks4All campaign include former president of the Faculty of Public Health John Ashton and professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Martin McKee.

Man sits on a platform in Madrid
A man wearing a face mask sits on a bench on a platform of Atocha railway station in Madrid during the national lockdown. Photo: AFP / OSCAR DEL POZO

In addition to face masks, many healthcare facilities are still struggling with other PPE shortages. Some medical trials are about to end soon and hopefully, the data can pinpoint an effective treatment method for the meantime. Experts forecast that a vaccine for COVID-19 is still far from being developed as the virus continues to mutate into different strains.