Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Covid-19: identifying and isolating asymptomatic people helped eliminate virus in Italian village

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 23 March 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m1165

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Rapid Response:

Mask use. A possibly important consequence if asymptomatic carriers are important.

Dear Editor

We are told very clearly that there is very little benefit to members of the general public from wearing a simple face mask. However WHO currently recommends that people should wear face masks if they have respiratory symptoms

Surely if asymptomatic carrier transmission is important we should all wear masks in case we are asymptomatic carriers - along with all the other recommended measures. The only exceptions would be those who have been definitely diagnosed with Covid 19 and recovered.

Which countries have done well with Covid 19? China and South Korea. One used strict lockdown one didn’t - both have a very high citizen use of masks. Could this possibly be one significant factor in their progress so far?

Competing interests: No competing interests

26 March 2020
Mark E Smith
Retired GP awaiting temporary re registration
West Bridgford, Nottingham