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Covid-19 spread could have been prevented if 70% of people wore masks: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on November 26, 2020 Published on November 26, 2020

Material of mask plays a significant role in its effectiveness

According to a new review study, the coronavirus pandemic could have halted if 70 per cent of people adhered to wearing masks in public places.

The study suggested that the type of material the mask is made of and the duration of wearing the mask play a significant role in their effectiveness.

The study, published in the journal Physics of Fluids, assessed studies on face masks and reviewed epidemiological reports to understand their role in reducing the spread of pathogens and reproduction number of the virus.

Role of surgical masks

The researchers noted in their study that the highly efficacious facemask, such as surgical masks with an estimated efficacy of around 70 per cent, could lead to the eradication of the pandemic if at least 70 per cent of the residents use such masks in public regularly.

Even cloth masks, which are less effective than surgical masks, help in slowing the spread f the virus if worn consistently, the scientists, including Sanjay Kumar from the National University of Singapore, wrote in the study.

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According to scientists, one key aspect of face masks is their capability to prevent aerosol sized droplets from getting expelled. This can only be prevented by surgical masks or N95 masks. While cloth masks can prevent larger droplets, with sizes around 5-10 microns, which are the most common.

The performance of face masks worn for many hours, such as by health care or other essential workers, impact how effective overall mask-wearing can be, the researchers added.

Furthermore, the authors of the study found that face masks made of hybrid polymer materials could filter particles at high efficiency. This simultaneously cools the face since the fibers used in these allow heat to escape from beneath the mask.

Based on the analysis, the researchers highlighted the importance of the regular use of face masks in curbing the pandemic.

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Published on November 26, 2020
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