The primary way to prevent coronavirus is wearing a mask when out in the public. Initially, it was mandatory for people who have been infected with the virus, in order to prevent their saliva or mucus to infect someone else. However, a recent study suggests that it also protects a healthy person who is wearing a mask.
Many states are now implementing policies to make face masks mandatory in both indoor and outdoor settings. Studies suggest said masks reduce the possibility of getting coronavirus by 65 percent.
Doctors have gone through research and have stated scientific evidence on how wearing a mask prevents transmission. It protects the people who are wearing it, said Dean Blumberg, the chief of Pediatric infectious diseases from UC Davis Children’s Hospital. He said that the wearer of a face mask, even a regular rectangular facing cover, can decrease the possibility of getting coronavirus by 65 percent.
The doctor said that N95 masks do a better job to protect people from COVID-19. However, they are short in supply and are much more needed for frontline workers, most importantly healthcare professionals.
Study explained in UC Davis Live: Coronavirus Edition
William Ristenpart, professor of chemical engineering at UC Davis, along with Dean Blumberg appeared in a UC Davis Live: Coronavirus Edition and discussed the topic of COVID transmission.
William Ristenpart’s lab at UC Davis went through a study to check how people let out droplets while talking or breathing. They highlighted two primary ways of coronavirus transmission.
The first study was done with small particles that are roughly one-third size of a hair strand. The study revealed that a mask creates an effective barrier against such droplets.
Blumberg said that everyone must wear a mask. Further, he added that people who don’t believe masks protect them are ignoring scientific proof. He said it is similar to believing that gravity doesn’t exist.
The second study showed that aerosol particles are expelled when people talk. Those are 1/100th size of a hair strand and is tough to defend against. Smaller particles can sneak through the gaps of a regular mask or homemade cloth face masks.
Best ways to prevent coronavirus transmission
Wearing face masks coupled with maintaining social distancing and staying indoors are the best ways of preventing coronavirus transmission. The only way to keep away from small particles while being outdoors is to maintain distance with other people. It reduces the chances of airflow and that is what can keep us safe.
According to recent lab reports, the virus can stay alive in the air with a half-life for hours. Ristenpart said, “it persists in the air”. For social situations, you would rather want to be outdoors than meet people indoors. This is because good airflow disperses the virus. The best way to allow the virus to disperse indoors as well is to open windows.
Enclosed areas like bars have become the hotspot of coronavirus transmission for the same reason. Moreover, the louder you speak, the more expiratory aerosols come out, which is again dangerous.
Lastly, Blumberg said that social distancing reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission by 90 percent while wearing masks does the same by 65 percent.