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June 18, 2020 Thursday 01:25:13 PM IST

‘My Facemask Protects You, Your Facemask Protects Me’

Image by Omni Matryx

Widespread use of facemask can keep coronavirus 'reproduction' number under 1.0 and prevent further waves of virus when combined with lockdowns. A study by University of Cambridge showed that even homemade masks with limited effectiveness can dramatically reduce transmission rates if worn by enough people, regardless of whether they show symptoms. 
The researchers call for information campaigns across wealthy and developing nations alike that appeal to our altruistic side: 'my facemask protects you, your facemask protects me'. 
“Our analyses support the immediate and universal adoption of facemasks by the public,” said lead author Dr Richard Stutt, part of a team that usually models the spread of crop diseases at Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences.“If widespread facemask use by the public is combined with physical distancing and some lockdown, it may offer an acceptable way of managing the pandemic and reopening economic activity long before there is a working vaccine.” The new coronavirus is transmitted through airborne droplets loaded with SARS-CoV-2 particles that get exhaled by infectious people, particularly when talking, coughing or sneezing.
For the latest study, Cambridge researchers worked to link the dynamics of spread between individuals with population-level models, assessing varying degrees of facemask adoption combined with periods of lockdown.

https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/widespread-facemask-use-could-shrink-the-r-number-and-prevent-a-second-covid-19-wave-study



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