To mask or not to mask, that is the question. But scientists now think you may want to put a face mask on it after all — if you have one. Their advice is laid out in a new report in Science Magazine.
“This virus is transmitted by droplets and close contact. Droplets play a very important role —you’ve got to wear a mask, because when you speak, there are always droplets coming out of your mouth,” the Chinese Center’s George Gao told the magazine.
“Many people have asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections. If they are wearing face masks, it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others,” he said.
KK Cheng, a public health expert at the University of Birmingham in the UK, put it bluntly:
“It’s not to protect yourself. It’s to protect people against the droplets coming out of your respiratory tract… I don’t want to frighten you, but when people speak and breathe and sing —you don’t have to sneeze or cough — these droplets are coming out,” he said.
Besides slowing the spread of COVID-19, a few researchers think masks can help prevent people from getting it as well.