Covid-19: Masks in poorly ventilated rooms may not protect you - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 30 October 2020

Covid-19: Masks in poorly ventilated rooms may not protect you


It's no secret that for most of us, once we put our face masks on, we feel much safer from contracting the Covid-19 virus.

As much as this is true, it has been established that wearing protective equipment alone will not prevent infection in a closed room with no proper ventilation.

A report by an online publication EL PAIS reveals that if a group of six people get together in a room with one of them being infected, irrespective of whether safe distances are maintained, there is a high chance of them all contracting the virus if there is no ventilation.

If the individuals have their face masks on, at least four people are still at risk of infection.

This indicates that masks alone will not prevent infection if the exposure is prolonged and especially with no proper air circulation.

"The coronavirus is spread through the air, especially in indoor spaces. While it is not as infectious as measles, scientists now openly acknowledge the role played by the transmission of aerosols – tiny contagious particles exhaled by an infected person that remain suspended in the air of an indoor environment, "the article reads in part.

Health experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) have acknowledged two main ways of Coronavirus transmissions.

Through the small droplets from speaking or coughing, which can end up in the eyes, mouth or nose of people standing nearby and through the inhalation of invisible infectious particles exhaled by an infected person that, once leaving the mouth, behave in a similar way to smoke.

According to the EL PAIS article, without ventilation, aerosols remain suspended in the air and become increasingly dense as time passes. Therefore increasing the risks of infection.

In this case, establishments such as bars and restaurants and institutions such as schools and other cooperate offices are at risk considering some do not have proper ventilation facilities.

In a classroom scenario, students could become infected irrespective of their proximity to the infected person as the aerosols are distributed randomly around the unventilated room.

To reduce the risk, the article suggests that classrooms should be ventilated throughout lessons, either with fresh air or mechanically, and the classes should stop hourly in order to completely refresh the air.

This way, the risk drops dramatically.

Meanwhile, Education CS George Magoha has remained adamant over reclosing schools even as the number of Covid-19 infections continues to surge.

Currently, 33 teachers, 17 students and four non-teaching staff in 35 schools have tested positive of coronavirus.

Magoha on Thursday downplayed the risk of infection on children and insisted there is no cause for alarm as no panic among learners has been witnessed.

He said has asked the schools to remain calm as the government will work with the Ministry of Health to ensure the learners are safe.

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