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BYU review of 115 studies shows masks effective in slowing COVID-19

File photo: Getty Images.

PROVO, Utah — Four faculty members from BYU have reviewed dozens of studies on the use of face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Their conclusion? Masks work.


byu masks study

Respiratory droplets ejected into the air while speaking without and with a mask. The images show droplets illuminated with lasers. Photo by Modified from Anfinrud and others 2020: Visualizing Speech-Generated Oral Fluid Droplets with Laser Light Scattering.

Brigham Young University’s Benjamin Abbott and three others reviewed 115 published studies and articles on the use of face masks, and concluded that “masks could be one of the most powerful and cost-effective tools to stop COVID-19 and accelerate economic recovery.”

The BYU faculty members looked at the potential health effects of wearing masks and determined that only a few people have conditions that would make wearing masks a bad idea, with almost no evidence to support a lack of oxygen or a buildup of carbon dioxide.

The study is available on the BYU website.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:


    • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.


    • Don’t touch your face.


    • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)


    • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)


  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States