To wear or not to wear a mask in the COVID-19 era? The broken bridge between recommendations and implementation in Lebanon

Tamar Kabakian-Khasholian*, Jihad Makhoul, Marco Bardus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the scientific community has been debating the use of face masks amongst the general public, sending conflicting recommendations. On one side, the World Health Organization (WHO) did not recommend using face masks as a preventive measure [1], in the absence of extensive scientific evidence on the matter. Till May 2020, there were no high quality controlled trials addressing the question of wearing masks by the general population as a protective measure to contain COVID-19. In the absence of evidence related explicitly to COVID-19, analogies were made with similar types of viruses with high transmission rates, such as influenza or SARS. A recent meta-analysis looking into the effectiveness of the public’s use of non-pharmaceutical interventions in the transmission of influenza did not report supporting evidence for the use of face masks [2]. With the lack of strong evidence, the absence of supportive recommendations became more meaningful when considering the shortages of personal protective equipment, including face masks needed for health care workers worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-3
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Global Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Disclaimer: Views expressed in the submitted article are his or her own and not an official position of the institution. Authorship contribution: All three authors have conceived the idea presented in this manuscript. The first author developed the first draft and all authors contributed to editing and finalizing the write-up. Funding: This is not based on funded research. Conflict of interest: The authors completed the ICMJE Unified Competing Interest form (available upon request from the corresponding author), and declare no conflicts of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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