FACE MASKS have been a hotly debated topic during the coronavirus pandemic as many people have questioned how important they are in preventing infection.
In the UK it is mandatory to wear a face mask or covering on public transport and the government also advises that you should wear them in places where it is not possible to distance yourself from others.
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One microbiologist has highlighted the importance of face masks with a set of grim photos which prove how vital they are against the pandemic.
Posting on Twitter, Dr Richard Davis shared a set of photos that revealed how big a difference masks can make when it comes to stopping the spread of respiratory droplets.
The photos show how the droplets spread with and without a mask.
Dr Davis used different methods such as sneezing, coughing, singing and talking to show how each one spreads the bacteria droplets.
In order to determine the spread he held agar cultures near his face and completed the actions twice, once wearing a surgical mask and once with no covering.
In order to show the difference he had to wait for the bacterias to grow.
He said: “Bacteria colonies show where droplets landed. A mask blocks virtually all of them.”
Wherever you can see a colony is where bacteria from the mouth landed.
In the UK people are currently advised two stay two metres apart where possible.
This rule is to be relaxed on July 4 to a one metre plus rule.
In order to demonstrate the importance of keeping your distance from others Dr Davis did the same test, but this time keeping 1.8 metres away from the agar cultures.
The 1.8 metre rule is in force in the US.
For the second demonstration he opened a set of bacteria culture plates and coughed hard for 15 seconds at 0.6 metres (2ft), 1.2 metres (4ft) and 1.8 metres (6ft).
He did this with and without a mask.
He added: “As seen by the number of bacteria colonies, droplets mostly landed <6 ft, but a mask blocked nearly all of them.”
Dr Davis added that while he was aware his demonstration isn’t how you would traditional culture viruses or model the spread of the coronavirus, it showed the effectiveness of face masks and coverings.
“But colonies of normal bacteria from my mouth/throat show the spread of large respiratory droplets, like the kind we think mostly spread #Covid-19, and how a mask can block them!”
People in the UK have been advised not to purchase surgical coverings due to a shortage or personal protective equipment for NHS workers.
The government previously released guides on how to make coverings at home from old t-shirts.
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