Scientifically masks were a quagmire during first SARS and has continued to be- hundreds of thousands of articles on subject from 1930’s. Masks have been directly tested by different methodology and then the real issue of testing people wearing and using. The studies are all over the place, I ignore Meta-analysis because always examine few papers compared to vast literature, and all papers describe limits of their study and how more warranted. Which they keep accumulating and still all over the place-experts in field encourage wearing a mask because it might/probably will help but there is no evidence with impunity nor a single study mean much.
You have to do some cherry picking to make an argument for or against. It interesting to note, that despite lower flu vaccination because of COVID, that flu rates have declined- so either increased distancing, hygiene or masks seems to be reducing flu ( which studies with flu and masks similarly all over the place.) It interesting to note that while flu has decreased we still have increasing COVID- despite varied responses globally.
All that aside social distancing and hand washing in all studies beneficial and wearing a mask is a worthy effort because likely it does have benefit though may not be statistically significant, The evidence is properly fitted and properly designed mask like N95 or better like Heath care workers use , does have a benefit. Some of that is common sense like covering your mouth when you cough, and why not side with caution. I think common sense trumps the quagmire of the studies so wear a mask. All the experts who point out caveats of studies all still encourage wearing a mask. Sometimes it takes science a long time to support what common sense has long supported.
I think for me, it is the combination of the mask, and the distance that ultimately is the best defense (?) I am not scientific at all, or more correctly, I don't have the patience to study it in detail (I do know basic scientific concepts, and love geology) but that seems to make sense given the basic level knowledge that was disseminated in the beginning...
I guess that I have always been the guy who just does what I am told to do in cases like this because I don't need more detail to convince me that there are "easier" ways to deal with it.
and it is not like we are being asked to do physically painful things on a regular basis to prevent this...if they were asking me to cut my tongue and pour lemon juice in the cut every day to prevent the virus, I might bitch about it....but the mask...yeah, I will do it...