The Science Behind Masks
- On July 10, 2020
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Masks have been a “hot topic” ever since the government recommended wearing one when social distancing is not possible. Now that many areas in Canada have made them mandatory, there are many opinions against masks debating that they are not necessary. To help, we have written the piece below explaining the science of how masks helped which is backed by several studies and research from various universities and colleges.
So, how do masks really help reduce the spread of COVID-19? From the logical and common sense point of view, well, because they prevent most droplets from leaving ones mouth and nose when they talk or sneeze. But, UCSF has done various experiments to show the “real” science behind how much they actually help. The information below is from UCSF and various institutions.
An experiment using high-speed video found that hundreds of droplets ranging from 20 to 500 micrometers were generated when saying a simple phrase, but that nearly all these droplets were blocked when the mouth was covered.
A recent study published in Health Affairs, for example, compared the COVID-19 growth rate before and after mask mandates in 15 states and the District of Columbia. It found that mask mandates led to a slowdown in daily COVID-19 growth rate, which became more apparent over time. The first five days after a mandate, the daily growth rate slowed by 0.9 percentage-points compared to the five days prior to the mandate; at three weeks, the daily growth rate had slowed by 2 percentage-points.
Two compelling case reports also suggest that masks can prevent transmission in high-risk scenarios, said Chin-Hong and Rutherford. In one case, a man flew from China to Toronto and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. He had a dry cough and wore a mask on the flight, and all 25 people closest to him on the flight tested negative for COVID-19. In another case, in late May, two hair stylists in Missouri had close contact with 140 clients while sick with COVID-19. Everyone wore a mask and none of the clients tested positive.
You can see more experiments and evidence here.