At this stage in the coronavirus pandemic, masks are a fact of life

Medical experts absolutely recommend wearing a surgical mask, especially if you are going to be in a crowded space

People with the virus, sometimes unaware that they have it, spread it through respiratory droplets that are exhaled when they cough, sneeze, sing, talk or breathe – and these droplets are then inhaled by somebody else. Droplets can shoot through the air and land on a nearby person’s eyes, nose or mouth to cause infection. But gravity quickly pulls them down. Aerosols, by contrast, can float in the air for minutes to hours, spreading through an unventilated room like cigarette smoke.

  • According to a number of laboratory tests and multiple studies, the main value from wearing face masks is that they block up to 80% of these droplets from escaping into the air. They may also prevent about 50% of droplets from being inhaled too.

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