Grim photos show how far coronavirus can spread in 3 different face masks
SHOCKING photos have revealed how far the coronavirus can spread through three different face masks.
In the UK the government has advised that people wear face masks and coverings in places like supermarkets and has said it is mandatory to wear them on public transport.
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A new study from researchers at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science shows how effective face masks are in obstructing virus droplets.
While it’s clear that medical grade masks are the best for protection, the public have been urged to make their own at home in order to preserve stock levels for the NHS.
The researchers tested a single layer bandanna-style covering, a homemade mask with two layers of quilted fabric and a non-sterile cone-style mask that you can buy from most pharmacies.
They placed the three different masks on a mannequin and were able to map out how the droplets travel when people are wearing them.
Researchers used a laser light sheet and a mixture of distilled water and glycerin to generate the content of a cough-jet.
They found that masks that had been loosely folded and the bandanna style coverings provided minimal protection for the smallest droplets.
This is while masks that were well fitted to the face and had multiple layers, as well as the cone style masks, had the most protection.
These masks were able to slow the speed and range of the droplets, but there was some leakage through materials and out of the edges.
Most importantly, the researchers noted that droplets that were not covered were able to travel “noticeably farther” than the 1.8 metre social distancing rule which is in place in the US.
Without a mask droplets travelled more than 2.4 metres, whereas with a bandanna they travelled around 1.1 metres.
With a folded handkerchief they travelled just 0.3 metres and with the quilted cotton masks this dropped down to just 2.5 inches.
Droplets coming from the cone mask travelled 8 inches.
Dr Siddhartha Verma co-authored the paper with Dr Manhar Dhanak and John Frakenfeld.
Explaining their findings they said: "In addition to providing an initial indication of the effectiveness of protective equipment, the visuals used in our study can help convey to the general public the rationale behind social-distancing guidelines and recommendations for using face masks.
"Promoting widespread awareness of effective preventive measures is crucial at this time as we are observing significant spikes in cases of COVID-19 infections in many states, especially Florida."
This month Florida along with Texas has had recent spikes and in the UK, Leicester has been forced to extend its lockdown for a further two weeks.
The researchers found that when the mannequin did not wear a mask the droplets went as far as 3.6 metres within 50 seconds.
So far in the UK over 43,000 people have died from the virus and the new research suggests masks should be considered as mandatory in other places and that social distancing measures don’t go far enough in preventing you from catching the virus.
The researchers found that once in the air, the droplets remained suspended for three minutes.
Dhanak said: "We found that although the unobstructed turbulent jets were observed to travel up to 12 feet, a large majority of the ejected droplets fell to the ground by this point.
"Importantly, both the number and concentration of the droplets will decrease with increasing distance, which is the fundamental rationale behind social-distancing."
Respiratory droplets are the main form of transmission for Covid-19.
Healthy individuals could get the virus from droplets which are expelled when coughing, talking, breathing and sneezing.
Dr Stella Batalama added: "Our researchers have demonstrated how masks are able to significantly curtail the speed and range of the respiratory droplets and jets. Moreover, they have uncovered how emulated coughs can travel noticeably farther than the currently recommended six-foot distancing guideline.
"Their research outlines the procedure for setting up simple visualisation experiments using easily available materials, which may help healthcare professionals, medical researchers, and manufacturers in assessing the effectiveness of face masks and other personal protective equipment qualitatively."
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