The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spreads through respiratory droplets and aerosols when an infected person coughs, speaks and breathes.
During the pandemic, health experts recommended the use of face masks to protect yourself from the virus. Now, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that wearing masks not only protects those who wear them but everyone around them from contracting COVID-19.
The CDC added that the introduction of universal mask guidelines can help prevent future bans, especially when combined with other mitigation strategies such as physical or social distancing, regular hand washing, and adequate ventilation.
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SARS-CoV-2 spreads mainly through respiratory droplets and occasionally through aerosols in the air. Infectious disease experts have long said that a person who covers his mouth and nose will protect those who are around from the virus.
During the pandemic, health experts recommend that everyone, not just the sick, wear masks to prevent contracting the virus that has infected over 51.98 million people worldwide.
Masks are primarily intended to reduce the emission of virus-laden droplets, which is important for those who are asymptomatic (those who show no symptoms but are infected) or presymptomatic (those who have not yet experienced symptoms). These people make up about 50 percent of SARS-CoV-2 transmissions.
Health professionals recommend using masks for local residents when they go outside or when they go indoors without adequate ventilation, such as offices and grocery stores.
The CDC recommends the wearing of multi-layer cloth masks that effectively block the release of exhaled breath droplets into the air. Cloth masks can block most large and even small droplets. Multi-layer fabric masks can block up to 50 to 70 percent of the fine droplets and virus-laden particles.
The CDC said residents should not use surgical masks and N95 masks, which are intended for health care workers handling infectious patients. If the public uses these masks, it can lead to inadequate care for those who work on the front lines.
In addition, masks help reduce the inhalation of the droplets by the wearer, thereby filtering virus particles for personal protection.
“The community advantage of masking for SARS-CoV-2 control is based on the combination of these effects. The individual prevention benefit increases with the number of people who consistently and correctly use masks, ”the CDC wrote in the report.
Studies have shown that cloth masks can also reduce the wearer’s exposure to airborne infectious particles or when other people are talking, coughing, sneezing, or breathing.
“Multiple layers of fabric with higher thread counts have shown superior performance compared to individual layers of fabric with lower thread counts. In some cases, nearly 50% of the fine particles less than 1 micron are filtered,” added the CDC.
Universal masking studies
Many studies have shown how effective wearing face masks is during the pandemic. A study by researchers at the CDC found that two hairdressers who developed symptoms interacted with each of the 139 clients for an average of 15 minutes for eight days. None of the customers were infected with the virus.
The hairdressers wore face masks during their interaction with all customers. The study shows that adherence to the face policy of the community.
In a study in China, it was found that among 124 Beijing households with more than one confirmed COVID-19 case, the index patient’s use of a mask and family contacts before symptoms appeared reduced household secondary transmission by up to 79 percent.
The researchers noted that more study is needed to determine which mask materials are most effective.
“Further research is needed to expand the evidence base on the protective effect of fabric masks and, in particular, to identify the combinations of materials that maximize blocking and filtering as well as fit, comfort, durability and consumer appeal.” CDC report completed.