In this pandemic situation every human wants to know that, are they taking the right precautions which can help in reducing the effect of the virus? In the case of COVID-19 everyone such as government officials, doctors, researchers told us to wear a mask and even the police were cutting challans from those without masks. Whereas the biggest question is a person wearing a mask actually protected from virus-like COVID-19?
According to the studies, masks can protect us from the virus to some extent. It depends on the number of variables that how well the masks perform. Including a person is in a high-risk situation and what’s the rate of infection in that particular community, how consistently people use masks, quality of masks, and fitting if mask. These all factors play a major role while showing the efficiency of masks.
In many situations, the use of masks shows that it protects the wearer even when others around them are mask-free. The quality and fitting of masks determine the amount of protection. For instance, during a hotel outbreak in Switzerland, people who were infected from COVID-19 were without masks only wearing face shields.
A Virginia Tech engineering professor and one of the world’s leading experts on viral transmission Linsey Marr said, “Health care workers, scientists and other people who were engaged in the work that may be exposed hazardous air born particles depends on specialized masks like N95s for protection. Therefore, we know that properly fitted and high-efficiency masks work”.
According to a Virginia Tech study which was on how well homemade masks, surgical masks, and face shields protected the wearer, based on particle size. The research shows that most of the masks could block large particles, like those from a sneeze. Whereas smaller aerosol particles are the hardest to block. Based on the findings face shiels with surgical masks have 0 to 30 percent protection from the virus. Two layers of cloth masks made of flexible, tightly woven fabric clothes combined with filter material could reduce 70 percent of smaller particles and trapping 90 percent or more of the larger particles. They also found that head straps and tie-created masks have a better fit than ear loops.
A study from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention found that standard surgical masks only provide 7.5 percent protection to the wearer from particles generated by simulated cough. Whereas a double masking technique that is a surgical mask covering with a clothes mask, reduced exposure to simulated cough by 83 percent. Only a surgical mask with well knotting the loops and tucking in the sides reduced 65 percent exposure.
Vaccinations are the best protection against COVID-19 but vaccinated people are also advised wearing a mask and avoid crowded places mainly in the vaccination status of other people are unknown. But at last, every study shows that more or less mask reduces the potential exposure of the person wearing it.