With many places around the world slowly getting back to the way things were before coronavirus, there are still places out there where the virus is spreading.
So, what is the most effective way of stopping this spread? According to a study by a team of researchers led by Renyi Zhang, Texas A&M Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and the Harold J. Haynes Chair in the College of Geosciences, and colleagues from the University of Texas, face masks are the answer. The team's recent study has found that face mask use reduced the number of infections in Italy by 78,000 from April 6 - May 9. The team also found that the adoption of face masks in New York reduced the number of infections by 66,000 from April 17 - May 9.
Here's what Zhang said, "Our results clearly show that airborne transmission via respiratory aerosols represents the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19. By analyzing the pandemic trends without face-covering using the statistical method and by projecting the trend, we calculated that over 66,000 infections were prevented by using a face mask in little over a month in New York City. We conclude that wearing a face mask in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent inter-human transmission."
Face masks alone won't be enough to stop the spread of COVID-19, as Zhang explains, face masks being used in conjunction with social distancing procedures. With a second coronavirus wave seemingly on the horizon, many people who are yet to adopt face mask should do so as it not only protects the wearer of the face mask from potential infection, but also stops the wearer from spreading the infection.
A co-author of the study, Mario Molina, a professor at the University of California-San Diego and a co-recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry said, "Our study establishes very clearly that using a face mask is not only useful to prevent infected coughing droplets from reaching uninfected persons, but is also crucial for these uninfected persons to avoid breathing the minute atmospheric particles (aerosols) that infected people emit when talking and that can remain in the atmosphere tens of minutes and can travel tens of feet."
For more information about this, check out the study here.
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