Research Report Concludes That Face Mask Wearing ‘Cuts The Risk of Catching Covid-19 By Up To 225 Times and is more Effective Than Social Distancing’

Research Report Concludes That Face Mask Wearing ‘Cuts The Risk of Catching Covid-19 By Up To 225 Times and is more Effective Than Social Distancing’

In a recently published research report German and US researchers found that wearing a face mask can lower the risk of catching Covid-19 by up to 225 times, compared to solely relying on a three-metre social distancing rule. This is the latest report to conclude that wearing a face covering offers ‘enormously high’ protection.’

In a previous study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), an international team of researchers found face mask wearing cut Covid-19 transmission by 53 per cent and social distancing reduced the virus spread by 25 per cent. The academic paper comes after a review of six real-world studies on masks, concluding that widespread face mask use can cut Covid infection rates.

The latest research paper, published in the journal PNAS, measured the size and amount of respiratory particles that exhaled with various masks on.

It found a 90 per cent chance of catching Covid-19 if a person stands across from an infected person for five minutes and neither wear a mask, even with a gap of three metres in place.

However, it would take 30 minutes for the risk to be that high if someone was to wear a face mask, even if it does not fit ‘perfectly’ on the face.

Experts from the Universities of Göttingen and Cornell who did the study said their finding “makes face masks more important than social distancing”.

This latest research paper, published in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), measured the size and amount of respiratory particles that come out of people’s mouths with various masks on.

Scientists calculated the risk of a person inhaling respiratory particles from various distances and lengths of exposure.

The scientific researchers and authors of the latest study found that the risk of infection without wearing masks is enormously high after only a few minutes, even at a distance of three metres, if the infected persons have the high viral load of the Covid-19 virus.

Masks were last week made compulsory in England again on public transport, shops and other indoor settings in response to the new highly infectious Omicronvariant, which was first identified in South Africa.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) state that face coverings can reduce the risk against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, reducing the spread of droplets and aerosols carrying Coronavirus (COVID-19). This limits the amount of the virus being released when people talk and breathe.

Ventilation is also important! Someone who has Coronavirus breathes out small particles (aerosols) of the virus. Adequate ventilation reduces how much virus is in the air, so it reduces the risk of breathing in the virus. In ‘stuffy’ poorly ventilated rooms the amount of virus in the air can build up, increasing the risk of spreading Covid-19, especially if there are lots of people in a crowded room. Good ventilation helps prevent the spread of Covid-19 by introducing fresh air into indoor spaces while removing stale air. Letting fresh air into indoor spaces can help remove air that contains virus particles and help prevent the spread of the virus.

Finally, hand washing! – To prevent the spread of Covid-19, people should also regularly wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer when they can’t use soap and water. Clean hands BEFORE and AFTER: Touching eyes, nose, or mouth, entering and leaving a public place, touching items or surfaces that are frequently touched by other people, such as doors, handles, tables, tools, equipment, trolleys etc.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

LTB 545/21 – Face Mask Wearing Cuts The Risk of Catching Covid-19 By Up To 225 Times

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