Demonstration aims to show effectiveness of masks

How effective are masks against COVID-19?

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A microbiologist in Spokane, Washington wanted to measure the effectiveness of a mask, so using a bacteria culture plate, he coughed, sneezed, talked and sang - once while wearing a mask, and once without.

The results have been “liked” more than 100,000 times on Twitter.

Rich Davis’ demonstration, PhD, Director of the microbiology lab at Providence Health Care, found a mask was effective at blocking most respiratory droplets, a vehicle researchers believe helps spread COVID-19.

On Twitter, Davis acknowledged that “bacteria are incredibly different from viruses,” but used the bacteria culture plates in the demonstration to show where respiratory droplets go. “Since we expect respiratory droplets to be what primarily spreads COVID-19, I exploit the presence of (easily to grow and visualize) bacteria in respiratory droplets, to show where they go.”

“The reality is, that if [masks are] somewhat effective on a lot of people, that means there is a lot of people who don’t get the virus, and that’s why we really think this is the best public health tool until we do have a vaccine, until we have a good treatment, this is what we’ve got,” said Dr. Wesley Willeford, Jefferson County Department of Health.

“Several studies have come out from multiple journals around the world where you see the use of masks does slow this virus down and make it harder to spread.”

One study, conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, estimates wearing masks can reduce the transmission of COVID-19 by 50%.

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