Scientists at Cambridge and Greenwich have revealed that the widespread use of masks is effective in combating the spread of coronavirus, keeping its base reproduction rate below unity. This will prevent a second wave of infection and defeat the pandemic, according to an article published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A.
Researchers have shown that restrictive measures alone will not help curb repeated outbreaks of coronavirus. However, even homemade masks with limited effectiveness can significantly reduce the transmission rate of the infection if enough people wear them, regardless of symptoms. If wearing masks is combined with social distance and some restrictive measures, this will help to cope with the pandemic and the economic crisis caused by it long before the vaccine appears.
The new coronavirus is transmitted by airborne droplets through an aerosol containing SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, which are released by infected people when talking, coughing or sneezing.
One of the key indicators of the ability of a pathogen to cause an epidemic or pandemic is the basic reproduction rate (BDP or R0), which is equal to the average number of people infected by the carrier of the infection. For SARS-CoV-2, BDP is evaluated from 2 to 6.47. In order for a pandemic to slow down, the indicator needs to be below one.