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Double-Masking Benefits Are Limited, Japan Supercomputer Finds

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The spread of droplets while wearing two masks.

Wearing two masks offers limited benefits in preventing the spread of droplets that could carry the coronavirus compared to one well-fitted disposable mask, according to a Japanese study that modeled the dispersal of droplets on a supercomputer.

Credit: Riken/Toyohashi University of Technology/Tokyo Institute of Technology

Double-masking, as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, yields limited benefits in preventing the spread of droplets that could transmit Covid-19 compared to a single well-fitted disposable mask, according to an analysis conducted with a Japanese supercomputer.

Researchers at Japan's Riken research institute and Kobe University used Fugaku, the world's fastest supercomputer, to model droplet dispersal.

The simulation demonstrated that wearing just one tightly-fitted disposable mask prevented the spread of 85% of virus-bearing particles, while wearing two masks prevented only 89%.

One well-fitted mask captured 81% of the droplets, compared to 69% by one loosely-fitted mask.

The researchers observed that a tight fit and avoiding gaps in the mask were essential to blocking droplet spread.

From Bloomberg
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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