Medical and epidemiologists led by Marco Horta of the Osvaldo Cruz Institute in Brazil received the first direct evidence that masks significantly reduce the number of coronavirus particles that people with COVID-19 breathe out.
Numerous controversies over the need to wear a mask prompted the doctors to check.
The debate over whether masks can stop the transmission of coronavirus has been going on for months. However, for some reason no one tested their effectiveness on real patients. Our experiment showed that masks reduce the number of SARS-CoV-2 particles that patients exhale by about three orders of magnitude.
The study involved 45 people, some of whom were sick with COVID-19. The subjects were asked to come to the laboratory wearing masks and respirators. There, smears were collected from their faces, as well as the internal and external sides of protective equipment.
As a result, it turned out that there were practically no traces of coronavirus RNA on the outer surface of the mask, even in cases when the patient suffered from an explicit form of COVID-19. The authors estimate that the number of virus particles has decreased by about a thousand times. This was the case for both relatively expensive respirators and simple surgical masks.