Researchers have developed an AI model that simulates how wearing masks can significantly reduce the rate of COVID-19 spread. According to the Masksim model, the spread of COVID-19 can be significantly reduced if at least 80% of the population wears a mask – even non-surgical ones – by day 50 at the latest. The study also suggests that making mask wearing mandatory may prove effective in helping nations avoid a second wave of the epidemic compared to mandatory lockdowns and social distancing without mask wearing.
“As governments plan how to exit societal lockdowns, universal masking is emerging as one of the key NPIs (non-pharmaceutical interventions) for containing or slowing the spread of the pandemic. Combined with other NPIs including social distancing and mass contact tracing, a “mouth-and-nose lockdown” is far more sustainable than a “full body lockdown”, from economic, social, and mental health standpoints. We recommend immediate mask wearing recommendations, official guidelines for correct use, and awareness campaigns to shift masking mindsets away from pure self-protection, towards aspirational goals of responsibly protecting one’s community,” the researchers wrote.
The AI agent simulation supports recommendations by health experts, WHO and CDC that wearing a mask is necessary to reduce transmission of COVID-19. To see the simulation or create your own scenario using different parameters, visit the Masksim page and toggle the Default/Advanced options. Masksim was jointly developed by researchers from the University of Cambridge, University College London, Ecole de Guerre Economique in Paris, the University of Science and Technology in Hong Kong, and The Family Federation of Finland.