There’s been a whole lot of conflicting information in recent weeks about just how advisable wearing a mask in public is during a pandemic. Now, in the wake of the recent recommendation that Americans cover their faces when stepping outside, a joint international study is offering a scientific take on the mask debate. Researchers from the University of Maryland and the University of Hong Kong say that masks do indeed appear to impede the spread of seasonal viruses like the novel coronavirus.

… In a series of lab experiments, the use of face masks “significantly reduced” the amount of airborne viruses traveling from infected individuals. A specially designed “breath capturing” device, created by the University of Maryland School of Public Health, was used for this study. The researcher was passed along to the White House.

… This study was actually performed before the pandemic broke out. Its findings have no bearing on the question of if masks can protect one from infection. What these results do suggest, however, is that masks are an effective way for infected individuals to limit their contagiousness around other people.

… Some infectious disease specialists first theorized that COVID-19 was only capable of being spread via a cough or sneeze. Now there is strong evidence that that the virus is capable of spreading just by inhaling the breath of someone close by who is infected. Masks can mitigate that possibility to a large extent. The experiments for this research were carried out by the University of Hong Kong. .

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