Masks Can Protect Those Who Wear Them From COVID-19: Study
One of the key ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 has been hand hygiene and wearing masks.
New research has confirmed that wearing masks can protect the wearer as much as it can protect people spreading the virus to people,
Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease physician at the University of California told the New York Times that masks act as a barrier for the virus to come in.
If virus particles do manage to sneak inside the mask, it would likely be a much milder form of the disease say experts. However, other experts cautioned against making the link to mask use and milder forms of the disease without enough extensive studies,
Dr Gandhi explains her findings in a paper published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine where after various animal experimentation and observational studies of events during the pandemic, her team concludes that wearing masks can lead to one taking in fewer COVID-19 particles.
One of the contentious findings from this paper has been the idea of a viral load - that higher concentrations of a virus will cause a more severe infection. According to this study, doctors experimented with putting different amounts of the flu virus up people’s noses to confirm that the more virus, the more the likelihood of infection.
However, since there is no cure yet for coronavirus, this sort of experimentation is not ethical and so there have been no definitive answers on the link between viral load and infection chances.
According to the NYT, earlier this year researchers in China experimented on hamsters. they locked coronavirus-infected and healthy hamsters together in close quarters and separated some of them with buffers made from surgical masks. The ones behind this curtain remained mostly healthy and did not get infected - those who did were infected only mildly, especially compared to the hamsters who weren't behind the mask wall.
(With inputs from The New York Times)
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