Abstract

COVID-19 has changed our lives. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many countries have introduced various restrictions. Most of us had to stay at home, distance ourselves from others, and wear face masks in public spaces for some period of time. Two years in, COVID-19 is still affecting us. Many people still have to keep their physical distance and wear masks. So are these measures effective? 

We tested what would happen if a sick person and a healthy one got together and talked for some time. We found out that social distancing alone isn’t effective. There is a 90% chance that a healthy person 3m (10ft) away will get infected in less than 5 minutes. However, if both wear a protective mask, this risk goes down considerably – even if they are standing quite close together!

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