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On the Alan Jones program on August 5, reference was made to The New England Journal of Medicine published on May 21 which stated that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection of COVID-19 and that the chance of catching the disease from a passing interaction in a public space is minimal.
It has since been brought to the program’s attention that the authors of the article have written a letter to the editor of The New England Journal of Medicine on June 3 clarifying that the statement that “wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any protection from infection” was only intended to apply to passing encounters in public spaces, not sustained interactions within closed environments. The authors made it clear that they do support the calls of public health agencies for masks to be worn in circumstances where they are compelled to be within 6 feet of others for sustained periods.
In that program reference was also made to a Lancet Medical Journal research paper which found that ‘full lockdowns and widespread COVID-19 testing were not associated with reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality. While that remains the case, it is apposite to clarify that this finding was in respect of critical cases and mortality rates only and that the paper also found that full lockdowns were associated with increased patient recovery rates.