Officials receive a body temperature check during a screening measures test at Tokyo Big Sight. Issei Kato/Reuters
Japanese researchers showed that masks can offer protection from airborne coronavirus particles, but even professional-grade coverings can't eliminate contagion risk entirely.
Scientists at the University of Tokyo built a secure chamber with mannequin heads facing each other. One head, fitted with a nebulizer, simulated coughing and expelled actual coronavirus particles. The other mimicked natural breathing, with a collection chamber for viruses coming through the airway.
A cotton mask reduced viral uptake by the receiver head by up to 40% compared to no mask. An N95 mask, used by medical professionals, blocked up to 90%. However, even when the N95 was fitted to the face with tape, some virus particles still sneaked in.
When a mask was attached to the coughing head, cotton and surgical masks blocked more than 50% of the virus transmission.
“There was a synergistic effect when both the virus receiver and virus spreader wore masks,” the researchers wrote in a study published on Wednesday.
There has been a growing consensus among health experts that the COVID-19 virus can be spread through the air. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its guidance this month to say the pathogen can linger in the air for hours.
A separate team of Japanese researchers used supercomputer simulations to show that humidity can have a significant effect on the airborne dispersion of virus particles.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted a state of emergency for Tokyo and four remaining areas on Monday after the number of infections fell across Japan, but warned that it could be reimposed if the virus started spreading again.
Japan placed 11 of its 47 prefectures under a state of emergency in January as a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation. One of those prefectures, Tochigi, has already emerged early from the emergency restrictions.
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Japan’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Tuesday at a meeting with the US and other diplomats that their “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” initiative, a concept to counter China’s growing assertiveness, is more important than ever
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"Space Exploration Technologies” based in Hawthorne, California, is scheduled to launch the Europa mission from Nasa's Kennedy Space Centre in Florida," Nasa said in a statement published online.
The new helmet prototype has higher energy absorption, reducing the amount of energy transferred to a cyclist's head in the event of an accident and lowering the chances of serious injury. According to a WHO data, more than 60% of the reported bicycle-related deaths are result of accidents with head injuries.