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Scientists Estimate Risk Of Airborne COVID-19 With Mask Usage And Social Distancing

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Mississippi used the Contagion Airborne Transmission (CAT) inequality model to understand airborne transmission of COVID-19

Scientists Estimate Risk Of Airborne COVID-19 With Mask Usage And Social Distancing
  • The scientists found masks effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19
  • Even simple cloth masks provide significant protection from COVID-19: Study
  • Findings are important for the reopening of schools, gym, etc: Researcher

Washington: Amid the rising cases of coronavirus across the world, scientists are estimating the risk of airborne COVID-19 after an individual abides with health norms including uses of the mask and maintaining social distance. In Physics of Fluids, by AIP Publishing, researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Mississippi used a model to understand airborne transmission that is designed to be accessible to a wide range of people, including nonscientists. Employing basic concepts of fluid dynamics and the known factors in airborne transmission of diseases, the researchers propose the Contagion Airborne Transmission (CAT) inequality, model. While not all factors in the CAT inequality model may be known, it can still be used to assess relative risks, since the situational risk is proportional to the exposure time.

Also Read: Airborne Transmission Of Novel Coronavirus Can Occur In Healthcare Settings: World Health Organisation

Using the model, the researchers determined protection from transmission increases with physical distancing in an approximately linear proportion.

If you double your distance, you generally double your protection, said author Rajat Mittal. This kind of scaling or rule can help inform policy.

The scientists also found even simple cloth masks provide significant protection and could reduce the spread of COVID-19.

We also show that any physical activity that increases the breathing rate and volume of people will increase the risk of transmission, said Mr Mittal. These findings have important implications for the reopening of schools, gyms, or malls.

Also Read: India Has Largest Number Of COVID-19 Recovered Globally, Second In Number Of COVID Tests Done

The CAT inequality model is inspired by the Drake equation in astrobiology and develops a similar factorization based on the idea that airborne transmission occurs if a susceptible person inhales a viral dose that exceeds the minimum infectious dose.

The model includes variables that can be added at each of the three stages of airborne transmission: the generation, expulsion, and aerosolization of the virus-containing droplets from the mouth and nose of an infected host; the dispersion and transport via ambient air currents; and the inhalation of droplets or aerosols and the deposition of the virus in the respiratory mucosa in a susceptible person.

Also Read: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Urges People To Wear Mask, The Right Way, Ahead Of Festival Season

The researchers hope to look more closely at face mask efficiency and the transmission details in high-density outdoor spaces. Beyond COVID-19, this model based on the CAT inequality could apply to the airborne transmission of other respiratory infections, such as flu, tuberculosis, and measles.

Also Read: Precautions To Take Till Airborne Transmission Of COVID-19 Is Further Researched And WHO Assesses The ‘Emerging Evidence’

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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