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Dr. Fauci Just Gave the Best Reason to Wear a Face Mask

Coronavirus isn't just transmitted by coughing and sneezing, a dramatic video shows.
woman sneezing with spray and small drops

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, called a YouTuber's video demonstration a "graphically beautiful" reminder of why mask wearing is so important to guard against coronavirus.

Gavin Free of the Slow Mo Guys shot video of himself counting to four, backlit, in 4K and slowed down. Particles spewed from his mouth with each syllable and lingered in the air. When he repeated this while wearing a face mask, hardly any particles were visible. 

"What you've just shown is a graphically beautiful demonstration of the importance of wearing masks and face coverings," said Fauci after viewing the footage.

"One of the reasons why it's so important to wear a face covering is that we know now that about 40 to 45% of the people who are infected don't have any symptoms," said Fauci. "And we know that a substantial proportion of infections are transmitted from someone who doesn't have any symptoms."

Talking, singing can spread virus

Fauci said people don't fully understand that simply breathing and speaking can send infectious virus particles airborne. "People have an understandable, but incorrect interpretation that the only time you transmit infection is when you're coughing and sneezing all over someone," he said. "What they don't appreciate is that if you are speaking, even if you don't speak loudly, and if you are singing, which is even worse than just speaking, you have these particles that come out that can stay in the air for a period of time.

"Some of them drop to the ground, which is the reason why we say keep six feet of distance. But some of them are aerosolized and can hang around the air," added Fauci. "For that reason, it's so important to wear face coverings, particularly when you think you're in a situation where nobody's sneezing or coughing—doesn't matter." 

RELATED: 7 Side Effects of Wearing a Face Mask

Consistent mask wearing could save 100,ooo lives this winter

A modeling study released Friday by the COVID-19 forecasting team at the University of Washington found that if 95% of Americans wore masks in public, more than 100,000 lives could be saved by February. 

According to the study, only about 49% of US residents say they "always" wear a mask in public.

If mask-wearing remains at that level and states continue to loosen social distancing restrictions, the U.S. coronavirus death toll could reach 1 million by Feb. 28, the researchers said.

As of Oct. 23, the coronavirus pandemic has caused more than 223,000 U.S. deaths, with more than 8.4 million people infected.

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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