Nearly 1 trillion masks have been bought during pandemic despite new research suggesting no health benefits

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The world bought 928 billion face masks at a cost of $389 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to recently compiled data.

With a global population of 8 billion, that means around 116 masks were bought for every person alive from 2020 to 2022. News of the big investment comes amid new research suggesting that it may not face masks have been effective in fighting COVID.

Statista, an online platform specializing in market and consumer data, estimated that global face mask sales rose, including surgical masks as well as respirators (such as the N95) and cloth masks, from 12.5 billion in 2019, when their use was largely limited to. medical workers, to 378.9 billion in 2020, when the pandemic began.

Sales then increased to a record 402.1 billion face masks purchased in 2021 before falling to 147.5 billion last year, according to a study by Statista’s Consumer Market Insights team. This year, it is expected that only 22.7 billion masks will be sold.

A girl wearing a reusable protective face mask is shown working at her desk at school.

A girl wearing a reusable protective face mask is shown working at her desk at school. (iStock)

Face masks made ‘little to no difference’ in preventing the spread of COVID, scientific study finds

Meanwhile, estimated global revenue for facials increased from $1.4 billion in 2019 to $224.1 billion in 2020. One reason for the dramatic increase in 2020 was that prices rose as consumer demand exceeded supply and producers struggled to increase production of cheap face masks.

Prices subsequently fell in 2021 as more masks became widely available, bringing global revenue down to $128 billion despite an increase in the number of masks sold. Then last year, revenue fell to $36.5 billion. This year, the figure is expected to be $5.8 billion.

“For 2022, Statista analysts see revenue and unit sales at a fraction of 2020/2021 levels as many countries eased mask orders and many people returned to their pre-pandemic habits,” the study says. “For the coming years, Statista predicts that the number of people wearing face masks will fall and that their use will be largely limited to members of the medical community and those who are clinically vulnerable again . That is unless a new dangerous strain arises or another disease/pandemic occurs.”

The Statista analysis came weeks before a new study found that much of the spending on masks may have been unprecedented. Published by the prestigious Cochrane Library, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the review went into the findings of 78 randomized controlled trials to determine whether “physical interventions” – a including face masks and hand washing – spread of respiratory viruses. .

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The conclusion about masks: “There is just no evidence that they make any difference. Full stop,” said Tom Jefferson, lead author of the study, in an interview. When asked specifically about the appropriateness of N95 masks in health care settings, Jefferson said, “It doesn’t matter — not at all.”

In April 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called on all Americans, even children as young as 2 years old, to wear masks to protect themselves and others from COVID. That September, said Dr. Dozens of states eventually implemented mask mandates.

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Even last August, Dr. Anthony Fauci, then the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that it is “unbelievable” that some Americans see mask wearing as mandatory as a violation of their freedom.

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