Coronavirus: Will face-mask protect you when others around you don’t wear one?

By: |
September 24, 2021 2:32 PM

One doubts if wearing a face mask alone in a room full of other unmasked faces gives any protection.

Marr further said that despite being vaccinated it is advisable for all to wear face masks in a crowded place especially in view of the delta variant of Coronavirus which has very high transmission capacity.

The utility of face masks since the beginning of Coronavirus pandemic has been a hotly debated topic among health experts with a section advocating masks for only those who had infection-like symptoms with the other recommending face-mask for all and sundry. Months after the Coronavirus infection took gigantic proportions did the health experts reach a consensus that face masks should be worn by everyone for best protection.

However, the debate about the face mask continues as one doubts if wearing a face mask alone in a room full of other unmasked faces gives any protection. While it is true that face masks are the best shield when all people in an enclosed space are wearing the face mask. However, health experts have also said that the face mask protects the wearer to some extent even when the majority in a room are not wearing a face mask, the New York Times reported.

Experts have said that the effectiveness of a face-mask also depends on its fabric and fitting. Linsey Marr who is a Virginia Tech engineering professor and an expert on viral transmission told the NYT that healthcare workers, scientists who are working with pathogens of various kinds day in and day out wear face-masks like N95 for their protection which are high-efficiency masks and fit properly on the face.

Other studies have also found that the face-masks offer varying degrees of protection to the wearer however the extent of protection depends on factors like the fabric, efficiency and fitting of the mask along with degree of prevalence of pathogens in an enclosed space among others. During a hotel outbreak of Coronavirus in Switzerland, a number of employees of the hotel and guests contracted Coronavirus who were only wearing a face-shield. On the other hand, a number of guests who were wearing face-masks did not contract the disease.

Summing up, Marr told NYT that one should prefer the best face-mask available in their wardrobe when one does not know much about the vaccination status of others in a crowded space which also does not have proper ventilation. Marr further said that despite being vaccinated it is advisable for all to wear face masks in a crowded place especially in view of the delta variant of Coronavirus which has very high transmission capacity.

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