Zirou Qiu, et al.
PNAS 119 (26) e2123355119
Nonpharmaceutical interventions such as mask wearing play a critical role in reducing disease prevalence. Under the dueling dynamics of mask wearing and disease, we observe a robust nonmonotonic relationship between the attack rate (i.e., the fraction of the ever-infected population) and the transmission probability of the disease. Specifically, the attack rate exhibits an abrupt reduction as the transmission probability increases to a critical threshold. Furthermore, we characterize regimes of the transmission probability where multiple waves of infection and mask adoption are expected. Our results highlight the necessity of continued public mask-wearing mandates to suppress the epidemic and effectively prevent its revival.
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