Dr. Erica Bruen Discusses Scientific Evidence on Mask Wearing

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Whether or not the general public should wear a mask has been a controversial topic throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Public fatigue is growing in regards to following guidelines to reduce transmission and mixed messages from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), especially early on in pandemic, have contributed to the controversy.


Dr. Erica Bruen, SCL Health Medical Group – Downtown Internal Medicine, shared some recent anecdotal and scientific evidence during her June “Dr. Erica” interview on KTVQ – Q2 News Montana this Morning.


Anecdotal Evidence:

  • Miami Herald reported on 16 friends who went unmasked to a bar upon reopening with all 16 diagnosed positive in the subsequent days
  • Springfield, MO reported 2 Great Clips hairdressers tested positive and had exposed 140 clients while symptomatic.  Face masks were mandated.  No positive cases linked to the exposure.


Scientific Evidence:

Studies are now starting to catch up to the fast-moving pandemic. On June 1, 2020, The Lancet published a systematic review and meta-analysis looking at physical distancing, face masks and eye protection. The study concluded all to be individually beneficial in decreasing risk of transmission. Bottom Line: no single intervention will work entirely, but scientific research shows that the following three interventions will reduce transmission:

  1. Social Distancing – at least 3-6 feet.
  2. Quality, well-fitting face masks and eye covering
  3. Hand Hygiene


Mask Tips:

Masks are low cost, low risk and have shown to decrease transmission.

  • Cover nose and under chin with minimum gaps
  • Sturdy multi-layer cloth masks for public (surgical masks and respirators for healthcare settings)
  • Keep them clean, wash or replace regularly

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