NEW YORK (AP) – US health officials have taken a new approach to encouraging Americans to wear masks: They are emphasizing that, according to recent research, masks protect those who wear them.
Previously, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended people to wear masks because of evidence that it prevents those infected with coronavirus from transmitting it to others.
However, this week the CDC published a new scientific text noting that mask wearers also get some protection.
The agency’s guideline did not change. He continues to advise Americans to use the masks to prevent the spread of the virus.
“But now we’re saying that here’s another reason” to do it, said Dr. John Brooks, director of the CDC’s COVID-19 response unit.
Agency officials were influenced by a recent study of Japanese researchers who used mannequin heads and artificial respirators to simulate the spread of coronavirus particles through the air, and to evaluate the effectiveness of masks in preventing transmission.
The study confirmed the results of previous research that masks work best when used by an infected person who could spread the virus by coughing, sneezing or talking. The mask blocks about 60% of the virus particles that come out of an infected person, according to the study.
But the researchers also found that there was a benefit if an uninfected person were in unfortunate form near an infected person and did not wear a mask. In this scenario, the amount of virus that the uninfected person inhaled was reduced by 37%, if they used a mask.
When both people wore a mask, the decline in the number of virus particles reaching the other person was nearly 70%.
The study did not perfectly mimic most real-world situations. An example: the heads were positioned less than six feet (1.80 meters) apart, and the exhaling head did more of a frequent coughing action than ordinary breathing.
But Brooks said other studies with real-world situations hint at the value of everyone wearing masks, such as a client at a hair salon in Missouri, another on a US aircraft carrier, and several more that tracked infections and deaths in places where The use of masks was mandatory.
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