Even though plenty of countries are relaxing coronavirus lockdown rules and businesses are reopening, the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t gone anywhere. This means that wearing a mask is just as important now as it was a month or two ago. However, masks are only recommended, not compulsory in many places, even though wearing one makes a huge difference.

Researcher Rich Davis showed everyone on Twitter just how important wearing a mask is with a simple experiment using agar cultures. The scientist demonstrated that masks greatly reduce the spread of respiratory droplets and bacteria. Which is a win when we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Dr. Davis told Bored Panda that he was asked to try and show the effectiveness of mask-wearing. “This type of demonstration isn’t new which is one reason I’ve definitely been surprised at the huge online response.” Scroll down to see what a difference wearing a mask makes and read on for the rest of our interview with Dr. Davis.

When you’re done reading this post, dear Pandas, have a look through our earlier article where a doctor demonstrates how wearing different masks affects your body.

Rich Davis demonstrated just how big of a difference wearing a mask makes

He then showed what effect keeping your distance has

He repeated that masks are important to slowing the spread of the coronavirus

Somebody even summarized his little experiment in a video

Rich’s demonstration got a lot of attention

Rich said that he enjoyed talking to people about his demonstration

Image credits: richdavisphd

The expert told us that there are some times and places that wearing a mask isn’t necessary. “If you have not been exposed and don’t have symptoms of a respiratory disease, not wearing a mask around the people with whom you are quarantined (family, significant other, etc.) or when you’re alone. When in public, since it is often impossible to maintain 6 ft of distance, masking is always a good idea. There’s evidence that being outdoors (when droplets and aerosols don’t concentrate like they would in a crowded, enclosed space) is safer, but again if you might be in close proximity to others, a mask would still be a good idea.”

Dr. Davis explained that the purpose of his demonstration was to show that what comes from your mouth and throat while talking, coughing, sneezing, and singing can “largely be blocked” by wearing a mask. “Viruses are many times smaller than bacteria, but the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to mostly be transmitted, not free-floating in the air, but in large droplets like the kind produced by these behaviors. So even if a mask without an air-tight seal doesn’t block all droplets that might be produced, it can certainly block a large portion of them.”

The number of new cases is rising again in the US

Rich is the director of the clinical microbiology laboratory at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington. His informative and to-the-point post got a lot of attention online. He got over 280.4k likes, his post was retweeted more than 166k times, and someone even made a video summary of his experiment! It’s a good thing Rich’s post was seen by so many people, considering that the coronavirus has made a resurgence in some places.

The situation isn’t as optimistic as we’d like it to be. The number of people who died with Covid-19 has surpassed half a million, globally. What’s more, since the coronavirus outbreak started, there have been over 10 million cases of infected.

The number of cases is rising in 30 US states, the BBC reports. While more than 400k people are under a new lockdown in the Chinese province of Hebei. It’s a confusing time because while some countries are seeing the number of cases go up, other places are further relaxing restrictions. For example, more and more businesses are reopening in Scotland, students are returning to schools in Wales after a 3-month break.

Here’s how some people reacted to Rich’s Twitter thread

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