Harvey V. Fineberg, a noted researcher in the fields of health policy and medical decision making,

writes to Kelvin Droegemeier, who is currently serving as the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and Acting Director of the National Science Foundation,

On the possibility of airborne, respiratory transmission of SARS-CoV-2:

(i.e. passive through talking, breathing, etc. aerosolized particles are emitted that linger in the air, rather than infection exclusively through heavy “droplets” from coughs or sneezes)

Screenshot of pdf, harvey writes of possibility of respiratory transmission
Screenshot of first two paragraphs of the report

University of Nebraska Study referenced in this letter:

Facial Coverings:

CDC warns of asymptomatic transmission, recommends everyone wears cloth face coverings in public:

More info:

Visualization of a person breathing, talking, and coughing with and without a face covering:

What’s happening on Twitter:

Masks and face coverings can help a bit, but really should be thought more as source control than personal protection equipment (PPE).

“My mask protects you, your mask protects me” is the new social contract
I am uncertain wther the study referenced for this chart it was data collected for source control (my mask protects you) or as PPE (my mask protects me).

Social distancing should still be adhered to

The latest science explained:

Source control: my mask protects you, your mask protects me

Still need to social distance (6ft.) though

And now: The viral social media meme:

  • Correlation does not prove causation, but it can give us a wink and a nudge.
  • To be fair, these four countries have also undertaken different types of disease control to western countries in other ways (e.g. S Korea, Singapore with aggressive early response and lockdowns)
  • And, it’s thought that even if masks help, it would mostly be to protect others from yourself. Social distancing (6ft) still matters, and I would wager that even then it’s probably not a guarantee.


More from NPR:


More fun Graphs and Data:



Subscribe to be notified of new posts:

Krupczak logo


Join the Conversation


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *