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Wearing surgical masks in public could help slow COVID-19 pandemic’s advance

Findings suggest surgical-style face masks could slow the transmission of coronavirus and influenza viruses.

Surgical masks may help prevent infected people from making others sick with seasonal viruses, including coronaviruses, according to new research that could help settle a fierce debate spanning clinical and cultural norms.

In laboratory experiments, the masks significantly reduced the amounts of various airborne viruses coming from infected patients, measured using the breath-capturing “Gesundheit II machine” developed by Dr. Don Milton, a professor of applied environmental health in the University of Maryland School of Public Health and a senior author of the study published April 3 in the journal Nature Medicine.