NEW YORK (CBS) – Duke University Medical Center researchers say their new study confirms coronavirus can be spread just by talking, without coughing or sneezing.

They wanted to test how easily germs can spread even during normal conversations. They used a box, laser, lens and cell phone camera to visualize droplets And filmed people speaking into the box.

“It’s astounding how much stuff comes out of you when you just speak, you didn’t have to sneeze or cough. It’s the speaking itself that already generates lots of droplets,” said Duke researcher Martin Fischer.

“You may not know that you’re spreading the disease, you won’t see it,” said Dr. Eric Westman, another Duke researcher.

Fischer and Westman’s team tested several types of face coverings. N95s without valves were the best protection and surgical masks were also adequate. Popular double-layer cotton masks provided good coverage as well. But coverings like bandanas and neck fleeces did not block droplets much and may actually spread them more.

“You have this mesh in front of you, these big droplets that you emit, actually get broken down by this type of fabric into a bunch of little droplets,” Fisher said.

The findings drive home how critical masks are, especially since the coronavirus can spread when someone doesn’t have symptoms.

“If you want to reduce your risk and other people’s risks of a transmissible disease. The science is clear that you should wear a mask or wear a face cover,” Westman said.


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