With the new alert levels in the country, people are allowed to go out again given that they follow certain health protocols. But even if you’re socially distanced from the people around you, researchers from Quebec, Illinois, and Texas pointed out that the two meters guideline isn’t enough to stop the spread of COVID-19. They emphasized that wearing masks is still important.
The results came from the study from the journal Building and Environment. It says that wearing a mask indoors can lessen the contamination range of airborne particles by 67%.
‘Mask mandates and good ventilation are critically important to curb the spread of more contagious strains of COVID-19, especially during the flu season and winter months as more people socialize indoors,’ said Saad Akhtar, a former doctoral student under the supervision of Professor Agus Sasmito at McGill University.
Public health guidelines usually recommend following physical distancing of two meters. In fact, the Department of Health (DOH) only requires one meter of space between people, even for those within a household. But in a study published in Building and Environment, researchers discovered that more than 70% of airborne particles cross the two-meter threshold within 30 seconds when people are unmasked.
On the other hand, less than 1% of particles pass the two-meter mark if people keep their masks on. The researchers also discovered that the impact of age and genre was minimal while ventilation, a person’s posture, and wearing a mask play a big role in the spread of the bio-contaminants.
To further analyze the study of the flow of liquids and glasses, a computer program was developed to carefully simulate coughing dynamics in indoor spaces. The scientists behind it were from McGill University, Université de Sherbrooke, Texas A&M University, and Northern Illinois University.
For symptomatic individuals, coughing is one of the main roots of the spread of airborne viruses. Akhtar explained, ‘This study advances the understanding of how infectious particles can spread from a source to its surroundings and can help policymakers and governments make informed decisions about guidelines for masks and distancing in indoor settings.’