THE SCI­ENCE

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Why do we need face cov­er­ings?

At first, sci­en­tific re­search on the ben­e­fits of wear­ing face cov­er­ings sug­gested they weren’t es­pe­cially use­ful. But in June, as new stud­ies were pub­lished, the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) changed its ad­vice. They said: “In light of evolv­ing ev­i­dence, the WHO ad­vises that gov­ern­ments should en­cour­age the gen­eral pub­lic to wear masks where there is wide­spread trans­mis­sion and phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing is dif­fi­cult.”

COVID-19 spreads when droplets from an in­fected per­son’s mouth or nose spray into the air and land on sur­faces when they talk, sing, cough or sneeze. Many peo­ple who are in­fected with the virus don’t know they are, be­cause they have no symp­toms or haven’t yet started feel­ing poorly. So by wear­ing a face cov­er­ing in en­closed spa­ces, we pro­tect oth­ers from breath­ing in or touch­ing our droplets.

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