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The mask it is a crucial weapon in the fight against the covid-19 . So create a group of researchers, led by Renyi Zhang of the University of Texas A&M, who warn in the journal PNAS that the virus is transmitted primarily through the air, and spread so easily that the social distance is not enough to protect us. Therefore, the team points out the importance of using facial protection, and accuses the various governments and health authorities worldwide have not emphasized adequately for his / her use during the pandemic.

Zhang, a distinguished professor of atmospheric sciences, and his colleagues, among them a Nobel prize in Chemistry, the mexican Mario Molina, explained that the tiny particles, fast and invisible carriers of the virus that escape the talking, breathing, coughing, or sneezing can be inhaled easily by another person, even minutes or hours after of its release by an infected and in spite of the social distancing measures.

Zhang believes that the guidance by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control has not been sufficiently strict as to stop the spread of the disease. “The social distancing and hand washing should continue, but that is not enough protection,” he says. “The simple effort of wearing a mask will reduce the chances of small particles infected in the air cannot be seen to adhere to the respiratory tract”.

Even at two meters

The researchers give an example: a man who does not know who is infected and who is not wearing a face mask is in a grocery store. Another customer, also without protection over your nose and mouth, is in the shop from 2 metres away, and never speak with the man. Even so, you could easily inhale unknowingly particles infected, which bind rapidly throughout the respiratory tract.

“The complication of the healthy carriers that move through the public spaces, combined with the current lack of understanding of the overall transmission of the virus, it hinders the development of mitigation policies effective that could protect the public,” the researchers say in a press release.

The World Health Organization suggested erroneously until mid-march that the virus could not be transferred by the air. Once we showed that that was not true, the 3 of April began to be recommended the use of masks cloth surgical when you are in public.

Save lives

The team compared trends in the rate of infection of covid-19 in Italy and New York before and after the masks were mandatory. In both places, the curves showing the rates of infection are aplanaron only after the measure was adopted. In his opinion, the use of these elements prevented more than 78,000 infections in Italy between April 6 and may 9, more than 66,000 infections in the city of New York between April 17 and may 9.

For Zhang and Molina, experts in air pollution worldwide, the fact that a mask will help to the elimination of the virus and limit exposure to the infection is not surprising, as they have long studied how the particles are infinitesimal that travel through the air can be easily absorbed by the lungs.

Molina, very well known for being part of the discovery of the formation of the antarctic ozone hole, warns the governments and those responsible for making decisions that “it is urgent that you realize that putting on a mask and cover our faces, something so simple, can save lives,”