Wearing masks is crucial in indoor spaces, expert says | KOB 4

Wearing masks is crucial in indoor spaces, expert says

Ryan Laughlin
Created: July 21, 2020 06:08 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has some of the strictest rules surrounding mask-use and now those rules are catching on.

President Trump recently called wearing masks patriotic during a press conference and urged Americans to wear them when near others.

A fluid dynamic expert from UNM, while not a doctor, said he understands how small particles move through the air.

"We expel and inhale droplets and aerosols. Droplets are larger and aerosols are smaller,” explained Professor Peter Vorobieff.

Vorobieff said mask wearing helps contain both.

"Droplet particles larger than five microns, so droplets in the traditional sense, propagate without the mask,” he said.

In New Mexico, the governor has ordered people to wear masks even when they are outdoors and exercising. Vorobieff said mask wearing is crucial while in indoor spaces.

“Indoor the situation may be exacerbated by the fact that essentially you have the same volume of air with the same aerosols and with the same viruses inside aerosol droplets recirculating. It is a bit better outdoors, but just what I said about traffic—better safe than sorry,” he said.

Vorobieff said dining inside and not being able to wear a mask when eating or drinking increases the chance of virus transmission, which is why it made sense to temporarily close them down.

The World Health Organization said the science is still inconclusive on how much tiny aerosols contribute to the spread of COVID-19, but data is much more clear on how larger droplets effect the virus.

"So, big droplets are like really bad and even a really simple cloth covering can prevent you from spreading this,” he said.

Studies show mask wearing does not lead to harmful CO2 levels.

Vorobieff reiterated that if enough people wore masks, socially distanced and sanitized it could help beat the virus.


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