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AP FACT CHECK: Masks and the coronavirus

WASHINGTON (AP) - Most studies have shown that wearing masks reduces the transmission of the virus by blocking respiratory droplets. Several studies have also shown that masks could offer some protection for the people who wear them.

A single study found  that 85% of a small group of COVID-19 patients surveyed — about 150 on this question — reported they had worn a mask often or always around the time they would have become infected.

But the group’s exposure to potentially infected people in the community varied. Most reported shopping or being in a home with multiple people.

And they were twice as likely to have eaten at a restaurant, where masks are set aside for the meal, than were uninfected people in a control group.

The findings were in a CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published last month.

The study has been repeatedly referenced by President Trump:

TRUMP: “Just the other day they came out with a statement that 85% of the people that wear masks catch it so … that’s what I heard and that’s what I saw.” — town-hall event in Miami on Oct. 15, 2020.

TRUMP, on his rallies: “What I do is outside is a big thing. And if you look at those, people, they really are wearing masks. I’ll tell you, I looked last night in Iowa — there were many, many people wearing masks. But then you see CDC comes out with a statement that 85% of the people wearing masks catch it.” — Fox Business interview.

TRUMP, looking out over his crowd: “Look at all the masks. You know, they keep saying, ‘nobody wears a mask, wear the mask.’ Although then they come out with things today. Did you see CDC? That 85% of the people wearing a mask catch it, OK?” — remarks at rally during the day in Greenville, North Carolina.

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Associated Press

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