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Use of Better Masks and proper ventilation in enclosed places can reduce the COVID-19 virus transmission

May, 2021

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This study showcases the efficacy of various face masks with respect to droplet transmission as well as the importance of proper ventilated spaces in decreasing the spread of COVID virus.

The current research about COVID-19 virus increasingly indicates that the virus can be transmitted via small suspended droplets in air during coughing and sneezing. However, there is a special concern with respect to how people living in closed quarters such as like hospitals, indoor environments, prisons, etc. can combat the spread of coronavirus.

According to a study published in AIP Publishing, an IIT Bhubaneswar study author, Mr. Venugopal Arumuru, states that proper ventilation system in an enclosed space will help in the reduction of droplet concentration in the air, thus taking account of the 5-10% of aerosolized particle leakage that occurs per breathing cycle. He also mentioned that a better mask design would increase the efficacy of a mask by reducing the side and bottom droplet leakage.

According to their experimental study, the efficacy of different types of masks, mask-shield combinations, and face shield was studied. The researchers found that when no face covering is used, the droplets transmitted from breathing were able to travel up to 4 ft in 5 sec. The commercial 5-layer mask was found to have provided the best protection in their study with a minimum leakage from below the chin. While the N-95 mask was seen to stop the droplet leakage from the front, however there was significant droplets leakage from the gaps between the mask and the face.

When experimented with the surgical mask, the leakage of the droplets from the front of the mask was evidently observed, however when a face shield was worn on top of it, the results showed a higher droplet transmission restriction. Author Arumuru also stated that the droplets settling below the face shield posed as a concern, and pairing a surgical mask with a face shield does not seem to be a practical choice for people living in enclosed spaces, where social distancing guidelines are difficult to follow.

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