A study published Wednesday by the University of Cambridge and the University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom showed that widespread use of masks in public places can reduce the amount of coronavirus (R) reproduction and prevent new disease development.
According to a survey conducted by experts from these academic centers, if the crowd wears masks, keep the R value below 1.0 and combine this measure with limitations to avoid a new wave.
Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, indicating that isolation measures alone will not prevent the recurrence of SARS-CoV-2. The experts said that even a home-made mask, if worn by many people, will greatly reduce the rate of transmission, rather than restricting it to those who show symptoms of COVID-19.
Therefore, they called for information campaigns in rich and other developing countries, and issued messages such as “My mask protects you, you protect me. Richard Stutt, lead author from Cambridge University, said: “Our analysis supports the immediate use of masks by citizens.
He said that, if their widespread use “is combined with social isolation and some degree of restrictions, it may provide an acceptable way of controlling the pandemic and reopening economic activity before effective vaccines are available. Study co-author Renata Retkute said she can help by issuing clear instructions on how to make and use these tools correctly.
She stressed: “With widespread adoption of masks, we have almost no losses, and the benefits can be great. The new coronavirus is transmitted by breathing in virus-containing particles, and the infected person exhales when speaking, coughing or sneezing.
The scientists evaluated different scenarios of mask use in the research model, combined with the period of closure, and incorporated the stages of infection and surface transmission (except air) into their research model, and also considered the negative effects of mask use, such as increased contact with masks. To curb the pandemic, the R-value needs to be kept below 1.0, and if citizens carry the R-value in any public place, the effect of reducing it will be double that of using it only for people with symptoms.
They found that, in all the cases analyzed, the proportion of the population that routinely wore masks reached 50% or more, which may reduce the rate of transmission of COVID-19 to less than 1.0, making the future outbreak of the disease flatter and allowing for more flexible restrictions. They found that, if 100% of the population combined its use in public places with other intermittent containment measures, the virus would not re-circulate within 18 months of the search for a possible vaccine.
They found that even homemade masks made from cotton T-shirts or dishcloths can effectively prevent the spread of 90%. The study shows that if the entire population wears 75% of the mask, even if there are no restrictions, the high R-value of 4.0 can be reduced to less than 1.0.
They added that although they can only capture 50% of exhaled particles, they are still “beneficial to the population”. John Colvin of the University of Greenwich said: “People generally think that wearing a mask means you really think others are dangerous when they’re mainly protecting others from getting hurt. He added that the focus should extend beyond public transportation, saying, “The most effective way to get back into everyday life is to encourage everyone to wear some kind of mask in public places.