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Masking out air sharing

2021 
Coronavirus The effectiveness of masks in preventing the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 has been debated since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. One important question is whether masks are effective despite the forceful expulsion of respiratory matter during coughing and sneezing. Cheng et al. convincingly show that most people live in conditions in which the airborne virus load is low. The probability of infection changes nonlinearly with the amount of respiratory matter to which a person is exposed. If most people in the wider community wear even simple surgical masks, then the probability of an encounter with a virus particle is even further limited. In indoor settings, it is impossible to avoid breathing in air that someone else has exhaled, and in hospital situations where the virus concentration is the highest, even the best-performing masks used without other protective gear such as hazmat suits will not provide adequate protection. Science , abg6296, this issue p. [1439][1] [1]: /lookup/doi/10.1126/science.abg6296
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