Japanese researchers use mannequin heads to prove that face coverings really do work against COVID-19.

After over half a year of flip-flopping from the international medical community and the World Health Organisation on the efficacy of masks, Japanese researchers have now proven that face coverings help to reduce coronavirus transmission. 

Professors at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science made the world-first confirmation using actual coronavirus particles in a controlled setting. 

The protective effect of masks was tested using a mannequin head connected to a nebuliser that released coronavirus particles from the mouth at the same speed as a human cough. Another mannequin, breathing at the same rate as a human, was placed opposite to gauge the effectiveness of various masks against the virus.

Results revealed that cloth masks blocked 20-40 percent of virus particles, while N95 surgical masks blocked 80-90 percent of particles.

▼ How the “world-first” breakthrough was made.

When the mask was placed on the mannequin releasing the virus, the amount of virus inhaled by the test subject opposite was greatly reduced, even when it was unmasked.

When both mannequins wore a mask, the risk of transmission was further reduced, although this didn’t completely stop the virus from being released into the air.

Reactions to the news online revealed an overwhelming majority were in support of the scientific findings.

“People who think masks aren’t effective need to reflect on this.”
“Anti-maskers still won’t care — they’ll probably think there’s no point in wearing a mask if it doesn’t offer 100-percent protection.”
“I can’t believe it’s taken the world so long to actually test masks like this.”
“Doesn’t it just feel better to wear a mask at the moment? I feel worried if my mouth isn’t covered.”
“People who refuse to wear masks without a valid medical reason are selfish.”

Researchers say masks should be used in conjunction with other countermeasures, such as proper washing of hands, in order to further reduce the risk of virus transmission. And after seeing supercomputer simulations of how easily the virus can spread, proper social distancing and screens in the workplace also work too.

Source: Hachima Kikou
Top image: Pakutaso
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