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Masks Cut Distance Coronavirus Travels in Half

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

Friday, January 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) – Face masks are touted as a key tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19, and a new study provides more evidence of their effectiveness . The findings suggest that some social distancing guidelines for COVID-19 can be relaxed when people wear masks, according to the authors. Study co-author Karim Ahmed said: "The research provides clear evidence that a distance of three feet with face covering is better than six feet without face covering." He is an associate professor at the University of Central Florida's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. People, between the ages of 21 and 31, when they talk and cough while they are wearing different types of masks or not wearing masks. Each participant recited a statement and simulation coughing for five minutes without a face covering, with a cloth face covering, and with a disposable three-layer surgical mask. The investigators found that the airborne emissions released by the participants when they spoke or coughed spread four feet in all directions when they did not have a mask on, compared to about two feet when they wore a cloth face covering and about six inches when they wore a surgical mask.

The study was published on January 12 in Journal of Infectious Diseases .

Learning more about how reducing the transmission of infectious diseases through the air can help keep people safe and manage responses to COVID-19 and other pandemics, according to researchers. The next step is to expand the study with more participants.

The idea for the study came from the jet propulsion research conducted by the team. “The principles are the same,” Ahmed said in a school press release. “Our cough and speech are our exhausting thrusters.”
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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a guide for masks .

Source: University of Central Florida, news release, January 12, 2022

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