Unmasked
2:09

Unmasked

Lab study shows which face coverings are effective

When it comes to effectively limiting the spread of the coronavirus, not all masks are created equal.

Masks have been the subject of debate in the United States for months, as inconsistent mandating and skepticism among a segment of the population has led to uneven usage. Yet the tide may be turning. Currently 32 states (including Indiana) and the District of Columbia require wearing masks in public, after repeated studies show it is a powerful tool in the fight against COVID-19. One model projects that more than 30,000 lives could be saved in the U.S. by December if mask wearing was universally accepted.

The science behind that effectiveness is now mostly understood: Masks help prevent aerosol transmission of the virus by containing droplets emitted by an infected person during speaking, coughing or sneezing. These droplets otherwise evaporate into the air and leave behind nuclei that don’t always settle quickly, which can then be inhaled by a non-infected person, propagating the spread.

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