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Spatiotemporal droplet dispersion measurements demonstrate face masks reduce risks from singing

Ho, KMA; Davies, H; Epstein, R; Bassett, P; Hogan, A; Kabir, Y; Rubin, J; ... Lovat, LB; + view all (2021) Spatiotemporal droplet dispersion measurements demonstrate face masks reduce risks from singing. Scientific Reports , 11 , Article 24183. 10.1038/s41598-021-03519-x. Green open access

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Abstract

COVID-19 has restricted singing in communal worship. We sought to understand variations in droplet transmission and the impact of wearing face masks. Using rapid laser planar imaging, we measured droplets while participants exhaled, said ‘hello’ or ‘snake’, sang a note or ‘Happy Birthday’, with and without surgical face masks. We measured mean velocity magnitude (MVM), time averaged droplet number (TADN) and maximum droplet number (MDN). Multilevel regression models were used. In 20 participants, sound intensity was 71 dB for speaking and 85 dB for singing (p < 0.001). MVM was similar for all tasks with no clear hierarchy between vocal tasks or people and > 85% reduction wearing face masks. Droplet transmission varied widely, particularly for singing. Masks decreased TADN by 99% (p < 0.001) and MDN by 98% (p < 0.001) for singing and 86–97% for other tasks. Masks reduced variance by up to 48%. When wearing a mask, neither singing task transmitted more droplets than exhaling. In conclusion, wide variation exists for droplet production. This significantly reduced when wearing face masks. Singing during religious worship wearing a face mask appears as safe as exhaling or talking. This has implications for UK public health guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Type: Article
Title: Spatiotemporal droplet dispersion measurements demonstrate face masks reduce risks from singing
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-03519-x
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-03519-x
Language: English
Additional information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Applied microbiology, Infectious diseases, Policy and public health in microbiology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Targeted Intervention
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Mechanical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10140906
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