The Riken National Research Institute of Japan studied how medical masks actually protect against infection with the omicron variant of the coronavirus . To do this, we simulated a typical situation of a conversation between two people.
When people are at a distance of 1 meter from each other for 15 minutes and at the same time the person who is infected with the “omicron” is wearing a medical mask, the average risk that his conversation partner will become infected is practically zero.
The computer model took into account the number of respiratory droplets, as well as the estimated viral load in each drop. For this model, the omicron variant was 1.5 times more infectious than the delta strain.
A computational fluid dynamics specialist at the University of Kobe, who led the modeling team, says this insight is particularly important for regulating school activities and change, as children are particularly susceptible to the omicron.
The second experiment of scientists from Japan simulated the situation inside a restaurant – a snack bar, where 16 people came to dine.
One of the world’s fastest supercomputers, the Japanese Fugaku, calculated that in a small restaurant, the likelihood that an omicron-infected person who talks loudly to his table buddy for 30 minutes will transmit the virus to another 15 diners who spend in diner its one-hour break for lunch, is 6.8%.
However, the chance of infection is reduced to about 5.2% if additional air conditioning is used. The risk is further reduced, to about 2%, when kitchen exhaust fans and partitions between occupants are installed.
A Japanese study clearly confirms the effectiveness of masks, physical distancing, and the importance of indoor ventilation in preventing infection with the omicron variant of the coronavirus. The risk of infection can be reduced to almost zero if all three protection strategies are used simultaneously.