CDC Guidance – Wearing masks effectively protects you, and protects others: “SARS-CoV-2 infection is transmitted predominately by respiratory droplets generated when people cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe. CDC recommends community use of masks, specifically non-valved multi-layer cloth masks, to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Masks are primarily intended to reduce the emission of virus-laden droplets (“source control”), which is especially relevant for asymptomatic or presymptomatic infected wearers who feel well and may be unaware of their infectiousness to others, and who are estimated to account for more than 50% of transmissions. Masks also help reduce inhalation of these droplets by the wearer (“filtration for personal protection”). The community benefit of masking for SARS-CoV-2 control is due to the combination of these effects; individual prevention benefit increases with increasing numbers of people using masks consistently and correctly.
Source Control to Block Exhaled Virus – Multi-layer cloth masks block release of exhaled respiratory particles into the environment, along with the microorganisms these particles carry. Cloth masks not only effectively block most large droplets (i.e., 20-30 microns and larger) but they can also block the exhalation of fine droplets and particles (also often referred to as aerosols) smaller than 10 microns; which increase in number with the volume of speech and specific types of phonation. Multi-layer cloth masks can both block up to 50-70% of these fine droplets and particles and limit the forward spread of those that are not captured.Upwards of 80% blockage has been achieved in human experiments that have measured blocking of all respiratory droplets,with cloth masks in some studies performing on par with surgical masks as barriers for source control…”