Masks could cut spread of COVID-19 virus


Coloured transmission electron micrograph: a purple smear covered in small blue blobs.

Particles (blue) of the virus that causes COVID-19.Credit: NATIONAL INFECTION SERVICE/SPL

Fresh findings about SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes.

3 April — Masks could cut spread of COVID-19 virus

Surgical face masks effectively block the spread of seasonal coronaviruses in respiratory droplets, suggesting that masks could prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Seasonal coronaviruses are one cause of the common cold. Benjamin Cowling at the University of Hong Kong and his colleagues had ill volunteers who were infected with seasonal coronaviruses sit in an enclosed booth and place their faces in a sampling device, called the Gesundheit-II, that captures airborne particles (N. H. L. Leung et al. Nat. Med; 2020).

The scientists detected coronavirus RNA in both coarse droplets and finer ‘aerosol’ droplets emitted by volunteers who were not wearing masks. Mask reduced detection of viral RNA in both types of droplet. Larger particles are carried by sneezes and coughs, whereas exhaled breath can spread aerosol droplets, which have a diameter of five micrometres or less.

The authors say that surgical masks reduce transmission of not only seasonal coronaviruses, but also influenza.


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Another worthy article about Face Masks come from The Atlantic: Everyone Thinks They’re Right About Masks