Wearing A Mask Is Not Enough
Your best defense is to wear a mask and remain at least six feet away from anyone who might be infected with COVID-19, even if they are also wearing a mask. New research from New Mexico State University found that at distances of less than six feet droplets from coughs or sneezes can still cause infection, even in masked individuals. The researchers tested droplets that could potentially cause COVID-19. They reported that a single sneeze can carry up to 200 million tiny virus particles, depending on how sick the infected person is. They found that even if a mask blocks a huge percentage of the particles, enough could escape to make someone else sick if he or she is too close to the carrier. Study leader associate professor Krishna Kota said without a face mask it is almost certain that many foreign droplets will transfer to the susceptible person. Wearing a mask will offer substantial, but not complete protection, by decreasing the number of foreign airborne sneeze and cough droplets that the person without a mask would otherwise receive. Bottom line: minimize or avoid close face-to-face or frontal human interactions.
Krishna Kota et al, “Can face masks offer protection from airborne sneeze and cough droplets in close-up, face-to-face human interactions? A quantitative study.” Physics of Fluids, December 22, 2020, DOI: 10.1063/5.0035072
More current health news from this week’s bulletin:
- What Nature Programs Can Do for You
- Good News About COVID-19 Vaccines
- Looking for healthy, easy, and very tasty? Try: Roasted Root Vegetables
Sign up for more Dr. Weil newsletters: