After a woman with the coronavirus visited a Starbucks cafe north of Seoul this month, more than two dozen patrons tested positive days later. But the four face mask-wearing employees escaped infection.
The Aug. 8 outbreak in the South Korean city of Paju is another example of how rapidly the SARS-CoV-2 virus can spread in confined, indoor spaces — as well as ways to minimize transmission. With health authorities around the world still debating the evidence around face masks, the 27-person cluster linked to the air-conditioned coffee outlet adds more support for their mandatory use to help limit the spread of the COVID-19-causing virus.
“This speaks volumes about the role masks can play,” said Ma Sang Hyuk, a pediatric infectious diseases physician at Changwon Fatima Hospital in South Korea. “Masks may not provide 100% protection, but there’s nothing out there that’s as effective.”