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Wearing A Mask? You Should Still Be Social Distancing

(CBSDFW.COM) - "You have to think of all of these measures as sort of being layers to protect you." It's this advice that Dr. Diana Cervantes, assistant professor and director, MPH Epidemiology Program at UNT's Health Science Center, gives everyone.

The layers of protection includes social distancing a minimum of six feet, hand washing and wearing a property fitted face covering.

"Those have been found effective to stop those large droplets but not a 100%. Depending on how they are made and of course how they fit you it can range from as low as 30% to up to 75 to 85%," she said.

Researchers at Florida Atlantic University studied a human cough to understand how far and fast cough droplets spread -- with and without a mask.

Using a dummy, they used a mixture of glycerin and water to simulate a cough under a green laser. Without the mask, the droplets traveled three feet immediately, six feet in five seconds and nine feet in 10 seconds.

They found the further the droplets travel the less dense they became but still with the ability to infect.

With the mask, the particles still disperse but don't go too far. Researchers found they linger in the air for about three minutes.

It's why Dr. Cervantes says it is safer to social distance even while wearing a mask.

"it always does reduce that the droplets but it doesn't prevent all of those droplets being expelled into the environment. That is why the social distancing comes into play," she said.

The CDC recommends a cloth face-covering fit snugly but comfortably against the side of your face, and you should be able to wash and dry it without damaging or changing its shape.

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