According to researchers from Quebec, Illinois and Texas, the two-metre physical distance rule is insufficient without masks to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 inside. The study's findings were published in the journal 'Building and Environment.'
While most public health standards advocate a two-metre physical separation between persons from different houses, the researchers think this is insufficient to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
Indoors, wearing a mask can lower the contamination range of airborne particles by around 67 per cent.
Saad Akhtar, a former doctoral student at McGill University under the supervision of Professor Agus Sasmito, said, "Mask mandates and good ventilation are critically important to curb the spread of more contagious strains of COVID-19, especially during the flu season and winter months as more people socialise indoors."
Researchers discovered that when people aren't wearing masks, more than 70 per cent of airborne particles breach the two-meter threshold in less than 30 seconds. When masks are used, however, less than 1 per cent of particles cross the two-metre mark.
While ventilation, posture and mask use all had a major impact on the spread of bio-contaminants, the researchers discovered that age and gender had only a minor impact. Coughing is a major source of airborne viral transmission from sick persons.
Akhtar said that the research contributes to their understanding of how infectious particles move from a source to its surroundings and it can assist policymakers and governments in making educated decisions about mask use and distance in indoor settings.