Rev Invest Clin. 2020;72(3):144-150. doi: 10.24875/RIC.20000196.


The emergence of coronavirus disease 19 pandemic and novel research on the high transmissibility of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has raised controversies over the use of face masks to prevent community transmission. Specific regulations need to be fulfilled to use a face mask as part of the personal protective equipment and high quality of evidence supporting its use to prevent respiratory viral infections, including SARS-CoV-2, is lacking. However, its widespread use is becoming a standard practice in some countries and discrepancies between health authorities on their policy have led to controversy. The aim of this review is to provide an outlook on recent research in this matter and areas of opportunity.

Keywords: Coronavirus disease 19; Face masks; Pandemic; Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; Universal masking.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Air Microbiology
  • Betacoronavirus* / isolation & purification
  • Communicable Disease Control / instrumentation*
  • Communicable Disease Control / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / prevention & control
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Masks*
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Particle Size
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission
  • Procedures and Techniques Utilization
  • Program Evaluation
  • Respiratory Protective Devices
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Survival Rate


  • Aerosols

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2