Wearing mouth-nose protection or an FFP2 mask massively reduces the risk of infection in respiratory diseases such as Covid-19. This is shown by the study of an international team of researchers with Austrian participation, who developed a new theoretical model to estimate the risk of virus spread. As they report in the Royal Society journal Interface, face masks offer excellent protection.
Current recommendations and knowledge about the transmission of infectious diseases are often based on a very simplified model developed by U.S. researcher William Firth Wells in 1934, the scientists write in a release. The research team led by Francesco Picano of the University of Padua (Italy), which also included Alessio Roccon and Alfredo Soldati of the Institute of Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer at the Vienna University of Technology (TU), therefore developed a new model to estimate the risk of infection associated with different types of exhalation (talking, coughing, sneezing) under other environmental conditions. Several factors were considered, such as the distance between people, temperature, humidity or viral load.
When droplets are hurled meters away
In the study, the scientists showed that speaking without a mouthguard can spread droplets – and thus, if infected, viruses – a meter away. When that person coughs, droplets can fly up to three meters; when they sneeze, they can be as much as seven meters. With a face mask, however, the risk of infection drops significantly.
“If you wear a surgical mask (mouth-nose protection, note) or an FFP2 mask, the risk of infection is reduced to the point where it is practically negligible – even if you are standing just one meter away from an infected person,” explained study co-author Gaetano Sardina of Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. Worn correctly, masks would provide excellent protection and significantly reduce the risk of infection.
- source: kleinezeitung.at/picture: pixabay.com
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