DETROIT – Many people have wondered just how effective cloth masks can really be against the coronavirus (COVID-19). Health officials are saying one hair salon demonstrates exactly how important they are in the fight.
Hair salons were among the last businesses to be reopened in Michigan because of concerns about prolonged close contact between stylists and customers.
But the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention used a hair stylist at a Great Clips in Springfield, Missouri, in a published report. It might be the best case study to show how masks make a difference.
On May 12, the stylist developed symptoms of COVID-19. She continued working for eight more days until receiving a positive test result, the CDC says.
A second stylist also developed symptoms during that time and continued working until the coworker tested positive.
During that time, the infected stylists worked directly on 139 clients.
The stylists and their clients were following city and company policy by wearing either cotton face masks or surgical-style masks.
Just five customers had worn N-95 masks. Based on testing and interviews, none of the clients, their close contacts or other stylists at the salon became infected.
Researchers believe the consistent use of face coverings prevented the spread.
How did the first stylist infect the second? The two coworkers spent time together without masks on between clients, the CDC says.
Contact tracers found the first stylist spread the virus to her husband, daughter, son-in-law and roommate, all who lived in the same household.