06.18.2020

Coronavirus can still pass between face mask wearers — even when they're 4 feet apart: study

Coronavirus can still pass between face mask wearers — even when they're 4 feet apart: study iStock photo

COVID-19 can be transmitted between people who are standing more than four feet apart, even if they are wearing a mask, a new study has found.

The research, published in Physics of Fluids, notes that face coverings alone do not prevent droplets of fluid that are projected by a cough, a discovery the researchers called "alarming." It adds to the importance to also maintain proper social distancing measures, they said.

The same researchers found previously that droplets of saliva can travel 18 feet in five seconds when an unmasked person coughs, so masks are important. However, repeated coughs are likely to reduce their effectiveness, the experts found in the new study, using computer models.

"The use of a mask will not provide complete protection," study co-author and University of Nicosia professor Dimitris Drikakis said in a statement. "Therefore, social distancing remains essential."

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