Evidence says non-pharmaceutical interventions may help prevent COVID-19

A comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) and co-led by Cochrane Canada’s Holger Schünemann found that non-pharmaceutical interventions, including physical distancing, face masks and eye protection, may be associated with reductions in COVID-19 transmission.


The findings were published in The Lancet this week.


“Although the direct evidence is limited, the use of masks in the community provides protection, and possibly N95 or similar respirators worn by health-care workers suggest greater protection than other face masks,” Schünemann said in a press release issued by McMaster University’s Faculty of Health Sciences. “Availability and feasibility and other contextual factors will probably influence recommendations that organizations develop about their use. Eye protection may provide additional benefits.”


The review has attracted attention from media outlets across Canada and around the world, including CBC, TIME, HuffPost UK, CNN, The Guardian and many more.