In a new study of mask usage published by the American Institute of Physics, researchers found that if 70% of people wore surgical masks, the pandemic would be "eradicated."
According to the article, which was published Tuesday, investigators with the Department of Engineering at the National University of Singapore looked at studies that reviewed N95s, surgical masks, and cloth masks to see how the mask's design, material, and capability of protecting people from the virus was.
Authors Sanjay Kumar and Heow Pueh Lee found that if 70% of people wore surgical masks in public consistently, the pandemic could be eradicated. Even cloth masks, which they found to be 30% effective, could lead to a "significant reduction of COVID-19 burden."
The researchers analyzed that if masks are worn, it reduces the size of fluid droplets expelled from the nose and mouth, spreading the virus in the air. The investigators said small droplets traveled a more considerable distance and were in the air longer because they became aerosolized.
According to the article, the researchers found that the N95s filtered out aerosol-sized droplets, and masks made with hybrid polymer materials effectively filter particles while simultaneously cooling the face.