Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. Part 1 - Face masks, eye protection and person distancing: systematic review and meta-analysis

We included 15 randomised trials investigating the effect of masks (14 trials) in healthcare workers and the general population and of quarantine (1 trial). We found no trials testing eye protection. Compared to no masks there was no reduction of influenza-like illness (ILI) cases (Risk Ratio 0.93, 95%CI 0.83 to 1.05) or influenza (Risk Ratio 0.84, 95%CI 0.61-1.17) for masks in the general population, nor in healthcare workers (Risk Ratio 0.37, 95%CI 0.05 to 2.50). There was no difference between surgical masks and N95 respirators: for ILI (Risk Ratio 0.83, 95%CI 0.63 to 1.08), for influenza (Risk Ratio 1.02, 95%CI 0.73 to 1.43). Harms were poorly reported and limited to discomfort with lower compliance. The only trial testing quarantining workers with household ILI contacts found a reduction in ILI cases, but increased risk of quarantined workers contracting influenza.