FRIDAY, January 14, 2022 (Health News) – Face masks are advertised as a key tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19, and a new study offers more evidence that they work.
Researchers in Florida have found that face masks shorten the distance from airborne pathogens such as coronavirus can travel more than half.
The findings suggest that some Guidelines for social distancing in relation to COVID-19 can be relaxed when people wear masks, according to the authors.
“The study provides clear evidence and guidance that a three-foot distance with face masks is better than a six-foot distance without a face cover,” said study co-author Kareem Ahmed. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Central Florida.
For study, Ahmed and colleagues used special instruments to measure the distance in all directions that drops and aerosols crossed from 14 people, aged 21 to 31, when they spoke and coughed while wearing different types of masks or without masks.
Each participant recited a phrase and simulated a cough five minutes without face cover, with canvas face cover and with a three-layer disposable surgical mask.
Air emissions produced by participants as they spoke or coughed spread four feet in all directions when they did not have a mask, compared to about two meters when wearing a canvas face mask and about six inches when wearing a surgical mask, they found researchers.
The study was published Jan. 12 in Journal of Infectious Diseases.
According to researchers, learning more about how to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases by air can help protect people and manage responses to COVID-19 and other pandemics.
The next step is to expand the study to more participants.
The idea for the study came from a jet propulsion study conducted by the team.
“The principles are the same,” Ahmed said in a school statement. “Our cough and speech are exhausted drive feathers.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a mask guide.
SOURCE: University of Central Florida, press release, January 12, 2022