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Double-Masking Benefits Are Limited, Japan Supercomputer Finds

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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