In case you need more evidence that wearing a mask can keep you safe from COVID-19, there is this example of a coronavirus outbreak at a Starbucks in South Korea, in which one infected woman managed to spread the virus to 56 other people at the same coffee shop. But, the four employees working at this Starbucks during the time avoided getting infected because they were all wearing masks.
On August 8, the unnamed woman visited the Paju City Starbucks and sat in the cafe for over two hours, drinking her coffee and chatting with friends. Unaware that she had COVID-19, she was not wearing a face mask, as first reported by Korean-language news site, Insight.
The woman was seated below ceiling-mounted air-conditioners in the two-story establishment, which ultimately spread the virus to over 50 other store patrons. Even though multiple Starbucks employees had close contact with the woman, not one of them tested positive for COVID-19, which is almost certainly because they were all wearing face masks.
There are well-documented risks that come with highly-trafficked indoor locations in terms of the spread of aerosolized droplets that can quickly spread COVID-19. The ease of viral spread indoors is a primary reason why many bars have been closed in states seeing surges in daily cases, and indoor dining has been limited or shut down entirely. It's also the primary reason why wearing masks—particularly indoors—is a very effective way to avoid contracting and spreading the virus.
"This speaks volumes about the role masks can play," said Ma Sang Hyuk, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Changwon Fatima Hospital in South Korea who spoke to Singapore-based news outlet, The Straits Times. "Masks may not provide 100 percent protection, but there's nothing out there that's as effective."
For its part, Starbucks has mandated all employees wear masks, as have most leading retail and national restaurant and fast-food chains. This story is just another example of why these policies have been put into practice: To keep you, and others around you, safe from COVID-19.
For more, check out these 23 things fast-food restaurants aren't bringing back due to COVID-19.