Research Alert

When vaccines are not available, alternative strategies are required to decrease SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Behavior of the population and government regulations, such as hand hygiene, quarantine of exposed persons, isolation of symptomatic persons, and travel restriction, play an essential role in decreasing respiratory virus transmission (Shaw, Kim, & Hua, 2020). The widespread use of face masks among the general public in some parts of Asia, including South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, was correlated with lower incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infections compared to Western countries where community use of face masks was less prevalent early in the pandemic (Cheng et al., 2020b). SEIR model is employed as a risk assessment tool to estimate the effectiveness of community use of surgical face masks before and after vaccination. In the case when vaccines are not available, it was found that the use of face masks has the potential to reduce R0 by at least 49% and, as a result, decrease the community spread of COVID-19.