Linsey C Marr, PhD, Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech.Marr began studying pollutants in the atmosphere, human-engineered nanoparticles and how those intersected with public health.After earning her doctorate at the University of California Berkeley and doing post-doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Marr started at Tech as an assistant professor in 2003.Marr's niche expertise in the airborne transmission of viruses brought her international attention last spring as evidence mounted that the novel coronavirus spreads through tiny droplets exhaled from the nose and mouth.In 2019, Marr earned the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, which recognizes a faculty member's effective, engaged, and dynamic approaches and achievements as an educator.She won an Emmy in 2013 for the video series Life, Interrupted and is the author of For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage.World-renowned viral transmission expert Marr is also an avid athlete.
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In July, 239 scientists from 32 countries urged the World Health Organization to acknowledge the possible role of airborne transmission in the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Short-range inhalation of aerosols is a possibility for COVID-19, as with many respiratory pathogens. Viruses in small, airborne particles called aerosols can infect people at both close and long range. A person is far more likely to inhale aerosols than to be sprayed by a droplet, even at short range.
"It was up to the public to make their own cloth masks." The team tested 10 different kinds of face mask materials — including a microfiber used for cleaning eyeglasses, a thick bandana, a kid's T-shirt and a pillow case — as well as a plastic face shield. The study, "Inward and outward effectiveness of cloth masks, a surgical mask, and a face shield," was published Friday on medRxiv, a preprint server for manuscripts about health sciences.
The proper, well-fitting cloth mask does a good job of filtering viral particles the size that most likely causes the infection. But Marr and his colleagues found that small improvements to the water cover can greatly help improve its effectiveness in protecting you and others from potential infectious particles. They found that: Three layers are better than two. A well-adjusted fabric mask with a third layer of filter can stop between 74 and 90 percent of the risky particles, the researchers discovered.