Wearing a Facemask is a Good Start

Here’s an article
Wearing a face mask can reduce coronavirus transmission by up to 75 percent, study says
(as close to a source as I could find)

It is super seeing research like that! The next question to our society is: how do we couple mask usage with another “multiplier” so that people can coexist inside a room and not transmit the virus at all?
The case studies that I have seen demonstrate one person spreading the virus to up to 80% of the other people in a room in 3 hours. Reducing that transmission rate by 75% isn’t actually helpful on its own; in simplest terms, now that same 80% gets infected in 12 hours 🙁.


One Comment

  1. Free says:

    I have several questions about this. First, they don’t specify what mask material was used. We’ve got a wide variety of thinks in use for masks, from bandanas to vacuum cleaner bags, and it seems unlikely that they are all equally effective. Second, it seems to me that putting a mask (of unknown materials) over a cage is not the same as putting one on a human face. When a person wears a mask, there is a strong possibility of air blowing out the sides as the person exhales. That risk wouldn’t be the same for an entire cage being covered by mask material.

    On the other hand, I don’t know that it’s true that if 80% would be infected within three hours without masks, 80% would be infected within 12 hours with masks. It is possible, for example, that the viral load is reduced to such a point that all but 20% of people will never get it. After all, in the experiment, only two-thirds of the hamsters became infected after a whole week, not three hours.

    And also, if it takes 12 hours to become infected, you would eliminate the vast majority of cases. Outside of a family situation, it is highly unlikely for two people to spend 12 hours in a row within 6 feet of each other. Even a normal work day is less than 12 hours. A restaurant meal is way less than 12 hours. And even if we assume that two workers in an open office spend 12 hours within six feet of each other over the course of a couple of days, the time spent out of the office in between may give the uninfected one a better chance of fighting off the virus.

    So, I’d suggest that the hamster experiment at least suggests that the right kind of mask may help. But the amount it helps might be anything from almost not at all to nearly 100%.

    Given that it would be unethical to do controlled experiments on humans, that may be as good as we can get. It’s certainly enough to keep me wearing a mask. But I would also hate to see broad public policy decisions being made on the basis that masks would reduce the transmission by a particular number.

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