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Fact or Fiction: Mask Infographic regarding COVID-19 transmission chances

Updated: Apr. 29, 2020 at 2:40 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Infographics are circulating Facebook and Twitter describing the chances of healthy people catching COVID-19 depending on whether or not they are wearing a mask.

The graphics claim if a sick person and a healthy person are both wearing masks, there's only a 1.5% chance of transmitting the virus.

It further claims if only the sick carrier is wearing a mask, the transmission chance is higher at 5%

But if the sick person is not covered, it touts, even if the healthy person is, the probability of transmission jumps to 70%.

One clue this is not real scientific evidence is that the graphics don't specify what type of masks they're talking about.

Plus there's no source for the percentages they are claiming. So we have no idea where these pictures and numbers originated online.

The Centers for Disease Control are disputing that the numbers in these graphics are accurate.

The CDC told the AP they did not make the graphic, and that "there's no current data that can quantify how much wearing a mask reduces the risk of contracting the coronavirus."

Regardless of the specific numbers, the CDC and doctors are recommending wearing cloth masks or coverings to help stop the spread.

The World Health Organization's position on wearing masks is that if you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with COVID-19.

The WHO says the coverings are effective “only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.”

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