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New Data Suggests Face Masks Help in Social Distancing

Wearing a face mask is fundamental in reducing the transmission of coronavirus infection from one person to another, according to health agencies including the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Health experts state that the benefits of wearing face masks for coronavirus should not be undermined as research has shown that thousands of new infections were successfully prevented primarily due to face coverings.

This is one of the main reasons why there are spikes in countries where people no longer wear face masks. For example, many states in the US including Arizona, Texas, and Florida, are having large increases in new coronavirus cases.

In fact, many of them even reported that the largest increase in a single day in the past week. Even though the governors state that more testing can be the reason for higher numbers, health experts disagree. It is clear that residents of the states with the highest coronavirus infections are not following preventive measures anymore.

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Additionally, many of the businesses and public places are also not following guidelines as strictly as before. For example, a number of local governments had to re-impose a ban in certain places after witnessing crowds of people, specifically bars.

In accordance with the reports, a large number of people in a single place have made social distancing impossible. The people in all of such places are coincidentally also not wearing face masks for coronavirus. So, what is the solution?

 The findings of the new study suggest that both of the problems can be resolved by face masks. Wearing masks for coronavirus can help in stopping coronavirus transmission by keeping the droplets with the virus from releasing into the air and reaching another person.

The author of the new study and the professor of computer science at the University of Padua in Italy, Massimo Marchiori, suggests that the benefits of masks are more than stopping droplets. People are also more likely to distance themselves from a person who is wearing a mask for coronavirus.

To examine the likelihood of people distancing themselves from a person wearing a mask, Marchiori and his friends used a “social distancing belt”. The belt consisted of sensors that measured the distance from other people around, a data card for keeping a record, and a rechargeable battery.

The belts, during the time period of the study, measured nearly twelve thousand people. The findings were interesting and unexpected, according to Marchiori. With social distancing belts, it was found that people maintained distance of up to a foot from those wearing a face mask for coronavirus.

On the other hand, people tended to get very close to those who choose not to wear a mask, thereby breaking the social distancing rules. The effect is due to the signal wearing a face mask for coronavirus sends.

The signal reminds people of the ongoing pandemic and how the risk of contraction still remains. This encourages them to stay away and practice social distancing effectively.

The associate dean for global health and clinical professor in the division of advanced nursing practice at Rutgers University School of Nursing, Suzanne Willard, also agrees while emphasizing the need to wear masks.

This effect of the mask is positive and shows how wearing face masks for coronavirus should indeed be mandated as it also encourages social distancing among people.