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Masks will continue to be an effective precaution against COVID-19 infection. Pixabay

Researchers have found under which conditions and in which ways, masks actually reduce individual and population-average risks of being infected with Covid-19 and help mitigate the coronavirus pandemic.

The study, led by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany’s Mainz, showed that in most environments and situations, even simple surgical masks effectively reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the effective reproduction number for Covid-19.

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“For the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2, we find that usually just a minor fraction of exhaled respiratory particles contain viruses. Most environments and contacts are under virus-limited conditions, wear face masks, including simple surgical masks, have a high efficacy in preventing the spread of Covid-19,” said Yafang Cheng, the head of the Minerva Research Group at Max Planck.

Face masks, including simple surgical masks, have a high efficacy in preventing the spread of Covid-19. Pixabay

In environments with potentially high airborne virus concentrations such as medical settings and densely occupied indoor spaces, masks with higher filtration efficiency (N95/FFP2) should be used and combined with other protective measures such as intensive ventilation. In most situations, even simple surgical masks are effective.

“The combination of high-efficiency masks with other protective measures is particularly important for hospitals, medical centers, and other indoor environments, where high-risk patients may encounter high virus concentrations,” said Christian Witt, head of the Research Area Pneumology at the Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin.

“Masks will remain an important protective measure against SARS-Cov-2 infection — even for vaccinated persons, especially when the protection provided by vaccination decreases over time,” Witt said.

The combination of high-efficiency masks with other protective measures may encounter high virus concentrations. Pixabay

For the study, published in the journal Science, the team used observational data and a novel quantitative model of airborne virus exposure to elucidate how the efficacy of face masks depends on characteristic regimes of airborne virus concentration.

ALSO READ: Is Mask Kissing Safe In A Partially Vaccinated World?

The approach can be used to assess protection against more infectious mutants of Covid. It is also applicable to a wide range of respiratory viruses and diseases, including coronaviruses, rhinoviruses, and influenza.

The findings showed that aerosol transmission does not necessarily lead to very high reproduction numbers as observed for measles and that relatively low reproduction numbers do not rule out airborne transmission. (IANS/KB)

(importance of face masks, wear a mask, how to protect yourself and others, protection against coronavirus, why to use mask)


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Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) enjoyed fruitful outings at the Tokyo Olympic Games as they secured semifinal berths in their respective weight categories at the Makuhari Messe on Wednesday.

On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.

Ravi Kumar will take on Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan in the last-four, while Punia will be up against David Morris Taylor of the USA.

Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).

Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.

India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.

He got his Olympic campaign to a fine start as he was in control from the start of the bout and hardly ever allowed his Nigerian opponent any room to maneuver his moves, finally winning with a 12-1 on technical superiority.

Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.

The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.

Punia, the silver medallist from the 2019 world wrestling championships, then set up a clash with China's Lin Zushen in the quarterfinals and defeated him 6-3.