Photo (c) freemixer - Getty ImagesResearchers from the University of Hong Kong have discovered that wearing a surgical mask can reduce transmission of COVID-19 by as much as 75 percent.
The authors infected healthy hamsters with the virus and placed these animals in containers.
Walking around without a face mask in Hong Kong, Japan or North Korea is seen as irresponsible, and several USA states are also now advising people to wear them when out.
But as more people begin to adopt a "new normal" in the age of the coronavirus, it's about time experts conducted studies on the effectiveness of masks.
In each set of the experiment, hamsters were separated into two groups and placed in two different cages, with one of the groups infected with the novel coronavirus.
The infection rate plunged to just over 15 per cent when surgical masks were put on the cage of the infected animals and by about 35 per cent when placed on the cage with the healthy hamsters. On one side of the cell, one COVID-19-infected hamster was placed, and three healty hamsters - on the other.
"Last month, a separate study published by a group of worldwide experts, created a model that shows cases of the virus could be cut significantly if "(near) universal masking" is adopted.
Then, they placed a surgical face mask in the space connecting these two in order to filter all airflow between them.
Those that did become infected were also found to have less of the virus within their bodies than those infected without a mask. "That's the strongest result we showed here", Yuen said.
"Transmission can be reduced by 50% when surgical masks are used, especially when masks are worn by infected individuals", Professor Yuen explained for SCMP.
"Up to this stage, we do not have a safe and effective vaccine".
"Universal masking at 80 [percent] adoption flattens the curve significantly more than maintaining a strict lockdown", researchers wrote in the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, as of last week. Now, a new study from China suggests that yes, one type of mask definitely works as a barrier to preventing the spread of airborne droplets that carry the virus, and we can thank hamsters for sacrificing their health to get there. conclusion. "Replacing the strict lockdown with social distancing on May 31 without masking results in unchecked spread".