The COVID-19 pandemic could be stopped if at least 70 per cent of the public wore face masks consistently, according to a review of studies which suggests that the type of material used and the duration of mask use play key roles in their effectiveness. The research, published in the journal Physics of Fluids, assessed studies on face masks and reviewed epidemiological reports on whether they reduce the number of people an infected person spreads the pathogen to - the reproduction number of the virus.
"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 consistently," the scientists, including Sanjay Kumar from the National University of Singapore, wrote in the study. "Even less efficient cloth masks could also slow the spread if worn consistently," Kumar added.
According to the scientists, one key aspect of face mask function involves the size of fluid droplets expelled from the nose and mouth when a person talks, sings, sneezes, coughs, or even simply breathes. They said larger droplets, with sizes around 5-10 microns, are the most common, adding that smaller droplets below 5 microns are possibly more dangerous. Read More...
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