“We Have to Wear Masks”

(p. D8) Some people are generous transmitters of the coronavirus; others are stingy. So-called super-spreaders seem to be particularly gifted in transmitting it, although it’s unclear whether that’s because of their biology or their behavior.

On the receiving end, the shape of a person’s nostrils and the amount of nose hair and mucus present — as well as the distribution of certain cellular receptors in the airway that the virus needs to latch on to — can all influence how much virus it takes to become infected.

A higher dose is clearly worse, though, and that may explain why some young health care workers have fallen victim even though the virus usually targets older people.

. . .

Apart from avoiding crowded indoor spaces, the most effective thing people can do is wear masks, all of the experts said. Even if masks don’t fully shield you from droplets loaded with virus, they can cut down the amount you receive, and perhaps bring it below the infectious dose.

“This is not a virus for which hand washing seems like it will be enough,” Dr. Rabinowitz said. “We have to limit crowds, we have to wear masks.”

For the full story, see:

Apoorva Mandavilli. “It’s Not Whether You Were Exposed, It’s How Much.” The New York Times (Tuesday, June 2, 2020, 2020): D8.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date May 29, 2020, and the title “It’s Not Whether You Were Exposed to the Virus. It’s How Much.”)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *