Recently, more people have begun to go out and spend more time in public spaces as the infection and mortality rate have decreased in the past few months. Secondly, the approval of vaccinations for coronavirus prevention has also convinced the majority that the pandemic will be over soon.
However, health experts have warned people against behaviors and activities that can spread the infection while highlighting that the crisis is far from being over.
In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the chief medical advisor for Biden administration and the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has encouraged people to continue to take coronavirus preventive measures.
He also added that people may need to wear masks even next year as it is an effective way to not only decrease the risk of coronavirus but other infections as well.
For instance, the 2020-2021 flu season had the lowest number of cases in comparison to previous years. According to infectious disease experts, the fall in flu cases is primarily because of coronavirus restrictions.
As many people were not going out, wearing a mask, and taking extra care of hygiene, the transmission of the flu virus was also low.
Therefore, continuing to take preventive measures can keep infections away in the future as well. In recently conducted surveys, many Americans have also stated they will continue to wear masks and avoid public spaces.
A new study published in the journal Physics of Fluids shows how these guidelines are the most important. The researchers were interested in examining how respiratory drops from a coronavirus-positive person travel and infect others simply by talking.
To do so, they looked at scenarios from everyday life where social distancing is difficult to practice. This includes medical visits, salon procedures, and business meetings.
The findings of the study were predictable and confirmed the results of previous research. The researchers found that wearing a mask reduced the spread of the virus. However, in certain scenarios, it did not guarantee safety.
People who underwent procedures and services with close contact were often compromised. Positions including sitting and standing also mattered. Leaning over another person specifically increased the risk of transmission.
Usually, a person’s aerosol droplets stay on their own bodies due to body heat. This does not happen while leaning over. Therefore, talking while leaning over another person can transmit the infection easily.
As healthcare providers or other workers cannot practice social distance in such situations, they rely on face masks. The results of the study show that this may not be enough.
So, the researchers suggest people in such services use a combination of face masks and face shields. Shields can block leaked aerosols from masks and prevent transmission.
For other people, face shields may not be necessary. Instead, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention suggests wearing two masks with proper fitting especially in high-risk environments.
Although social distancing is difficult in real life, practicing it whenever possible is also highly recommended.