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Covid-19 can be stopped if 7 out of 10 people wear face masks consistently: Study

Published on:28 November 2020, 14:06pm IST
While we are waiting for the covid-19 vaccine to free us of this pandemic, let’s not underestimate the importance of face masks.
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Let’s covid-19 in its tracks by keeping our masks on. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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All this while we have been waiting for a solution… some way to end this pandemic. Of course, a coronavirus vaccine is the world’s best bet right now. But turns out, there is a way out that requires no medical advancement. Rather, just cooperation of the global public.

Let us simplify it a little: According to a study published in the journal the Physics of Fluids, the covid-19 pandemic can be “eradicated” if 70% of people wear a mask. In other words, if 7 out of 10 of us wear masks diligently we could effectively stop the novel coronavirus in its tracks.

Masks can lower reproduction rates of coronavirus

Researchers from the University of Singapore studied widely-used face masks and coverings, understanding how their material and design impacts infection rates. They found that common face masks like surgical masks and N95 masks can reduce the reproduction rates of the virus, thus reducing the spread of the infection.

“The highly efficacious facemask, such as surgical masks with an estimated efficacy of around 70%, could lead to the eradication of the pandemic if at least 70% of the residents use such masks in public consistently,” the scientists, including Sanjay Kumar from the National University of Singapore, wrote in the study.

Also, read: Forget colours and patterns. Just remember these 3 things the next time you buy a face mask

“Even less efficient cloth masks could also slow the spread if worn consistently,” he added.

Face mask
The war is yet not over! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
N95 masks, however, are the most efficient

According to the researchers, only the N95 masks can filter out aerosol-sized droplets.

However, face masks in general can alter the size of the fluid droplets released from a person’s nose and mouth while talking, coughing, sneezing, or even breathing.

They also found that face masks made of hybrid polymer materials could filter particles at high efficiency while simultaneously cooling the face since the fibres used in these allow heat to escape from beneath the mask.

“There could be some relation between breathing resistance and the flow resistance of the face mask which will need to be studied for a face mask-wearing interval,” said Heow Pueh Lee, another co-author of the study.

Vaccine or no vaccine, masks need to be our effective strategy to deal with the pandemic

We’ve said it before, and we will say it again. Masks are our biggest defence—not only when it comes to staying safe from the coronavirus pandemic, but also when it comes to stopping it.

By now we’re sure you are well aware of how and when to wear a mask. So don’t ignore this advice from the scientific community, and keep your masks on.

(With inputs from PTI)

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