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The Protective Power of Masks, Part 1 of 2



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Understanding the mode of transmission of an infectious disease like MERS or COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is essential to lessen or prevent the further spread of the illness. Viruses can be transmitted between people through airborne droplets made of mucus, saliva and water. Particles containing viruses can be detected when an infected individual coughs, sneezes, talks, or even exhales.

Catching a virus is much easier than you think, and even chatting is a hazard. With the aid of aerodynamic particle sizing, it was found that up to 330 particles were released into the air per second when a person made the “Aah” sound. The louder the sound a person made, the greater the number of particles that were emitted. These results suggest a significant risk from COVID-19 asymptomatic people unknowingly spreading the coronavirus by merely talking.

One effective way to prevent coronavirus transmission is through social distancing or keeping 3 meters or more away from others. Personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and face shields, are another line of defense. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing a mask in indoor spaces outside of the home. Because the coronavirus may be shedding from infected individuals, including asymptomatic ones, a poorly ventilated building can be dangerous. Another advantage of wearing a mask includes preventing one from touching their nose and mouth.

A study released in March 2020 found plastic and stainless steel surfaces can harbor the novel coronavirus for up to 72 hours, and it can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours. “High-touch” areas that may be contaminated include doorknobs, elevator buttons, tables, light switches, handrails, countertops, and bathroom fixtures.

Wearers must also be careful to not touch their face when adjusting or taking off their masks because unclean hands can come into contact with the eyes. In today’s program, we hope you have learned how wearing a mask can help you and the people around you to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic.

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