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Graphic: Lifehacker, Photo: Shutterstock A recent study of mask wearing in Denmark is being shared as if it proves that masks don’t protect us. That’s not what the study actually says.

I’ll get into the specifics below, but right now I’d like to point out a couple lines from the paper itself: The most important limitation is that the findings are inconclusive… and It is important to emphasize that this trial did not address the effects of masks as source control [protecting others from the wearer] or as protection in settings where social distancing and other public health measures are not in effect. So if you’re sharing this study to support your previously held opinion that masks are stupid and you don’t want to wear one, please stop. Now, let’s see what the study was actually about. What question was the study designed to answer?

The newly published study, titled Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers , was conducted in Denmark in April and May of this year.

The study setting wasn’t very much like the world we’re living in now. Cases were low, and most people were not wearing masks. The country was relying on social distancing as their main way of slowing the spread of COVID-19, with a lockdown that began in March and continued through May .

The question was: if we mail people a box of masks and tell them to wear the masks, will […]