Aerosols are key elements of the atmosphere and the Earth system, influencing air quality, climate and human health in the Anthropocene. They scatter or absorb sunlight, serve as nuclei for clouds and precipitation, and adversely affect human health. In particular, human respiratory aerosols are involved in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the spread of COVID-19.

Building on my expertise in aerosol research, I have initiated and led an interdisciplinary and breakthrough study quantitatively explaining how face masks effectively limit the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 at individual and population-average levels, and how their efficacy is enhanced by combination and synergies with other protective measures like ventilation and distancing (Cheng et al., Science 2021). These findings are essential for overcoming inconclusive scientific and public debates about protective measures, and for efficient mitigation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tags:mask efficacy, airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19