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FACT FINDERS: Do masks really protect against COVID?

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 6:17 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - This recent surge of COVID cases, fueled by the Delta variant, is causing some to break out the masks again. It’s also re-sparking controversy over the effectiveness of masks.

One big question: since the COVID virus itself is very small, can’t it just go right through most masks?

Dr. Janko Nikolich-Zugich, the department head of immunobiology at the University of Arizona, says it’s true the virus itself is so small if it were to travel as a single particle it could get through many kinds of masks. However, he says that’s not how the virus typically travels.

”The virus doesn’t come in these individual particles,” he said. “The virus comes in these droplets that we emit from the airway and it is really the size of the droplet that matters.”

The C.D.C. backs him up. According to its website, COVID is mostly spread by breathing in respiratory droplets. These droplets come from people coughing, sneezing, talking, singing, or simply breathing.

The C.D.C. also says masks reduce your chances of breathing in these droplets but can also block exhalation of most large droplets as well as fine droplets and particles. In fact, multi-layer cloth masks are found to block up to 70-percent of fine droplets and particles therefore helping to reduce the spread.

To read more about the effectiveness of masks, click here.

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