Cloth masks highly preventive against Covid-19, says new CDC study

A cloth mask is effective in reducing the risk of contracting and spreading of the coronavirus (Covid-19) for the wearer and those around them, a new study in the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) said.

In the study, CDC recommended people to use masks, specifically the ones made of non-valved multi-layer cloth, to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 virus.

“Multi-layer cloth masks block release of exhaled respiratory particles into the environment,along with the microorganisms these particles carry,” the study stated.

According to CDC’s recent health release, materials used in cloth masks can reduce wearers’ vulnerability to infectious droplets through filtration, including filtration of fine aerosols smaller than 10 microns.

“Cloth masks not only effectively block most large droplets (i.e., 20-30 microns and larger) but they can also block the exhalation of fine droplets and particles (also often referred to as aerosols) smaller than 10 microns ; which increase in number with the volume of speech and specific types of phonation.Multi-layer cloth masks can both block up to 50-70% of these fine droplets and particles and limit the forward spread of those that are not captured. Upwards of 80% blockage has been achieved in human experiments that have measured blocking of all respiratory droplets,with cloth masks in some studies performing on par with surgical masks as barriers for source control,” it noted.

The SARS-CoV-2, that causes Covid-19, can transmit through direct or indirect or close contact with an infected person through respiratory droplet transmission via coughing, sneezing or talking.

“An investigation of a high-exposure event, in which 2 symptomatically ill hair stylists interacted for an average of 15 minutes with each of 139 clients during an 8-day period, found that none of the 67 clients who subsequently consented to an interview and testing developed infection. The stylists and all clients universally wore masks in the salon as required by local ordinance and company policy at the time,” the US health body noted further in its study.

The CDC, citing several studies, advocated universal use of masking policies, saying that it can help avoid lockdowns in the future, especially if clubbed with other policies such as social distancing, hand hygiene and adequate ventilation.

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