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MASK: Making Aerosol Safety Known. Masks efficacy and COVID-19

The primary route of transmission of SARS-Cov-2 is from one infected person to another via respiratory droplets. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, any benefits of using masks and face coverings was in doubt as there was limited data over their effectiveness in reducing spread of COVID-19. With vaccination being an unknown time way, and increasing community transmission, addressing whether face coverings had any effect on reducing the spread of aerosol droplets became increasing important. One of a number of research groups that aimed to tackle this topic was the multidisciplinary group of Blackrock Castle Observatory, CAPPA (Centre for Advanced Photonics and Process Analysis) and CIT (Cork Institute of Technology).

In this webinar, Alan Giltinan and Dr Niall Smith from BCO provide a background to the interesting story and some of their key findings from their research. Alan Giltinan gives the overview of their usual area of work in astronomy and describes how the optical techniques involved can be translated across to the study of aerosols using high sensitivity imaging cameras. Dr Niall Smith then discusses the experimental design used to study mask efficacy, providing some insights into the key findings to date and some of the future questions that remain to be tackled.

This presentation was part of the Andor Virology Virtual Conference March 2021.

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