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COVID-19: Wear Mask & Ventilate said Fugaku
Summary

Supercomputer Fugaku@RIKEN R-CCS is currently the fastest supercomputer in world, and has been deployed early for various COVID-19 preventative measures.

Related Links:
Japan's Fugaku retains title as world's fastest supercomputerThe webpage will open in a new tab. (RIKEN Website)
Supercomputer Fugaku will be used to help fight against COVID-19

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Among the research is a detailed simulation study of droplets & aerosols that are the cause of transmission of COVID-19. These simulations include detailed studies of masks and shields, how the droplets and aerosols can spread, and how their spread can be mitigated in numerous societal situations such as offices & classrooms, restaurants & theaters, and public transportations such as taxis and airplanes. In a project led by Dr./Prof. Makoto Tsubokura (RIKEN R-CCS & Kobe Univ.) what we found is common sense but now backed by proper scientific simulation- "wear mask and ventilate":

Without protective gear, e.g. masks and face shields, a large amount of virus-laden droplets and aerosols will spread from the mouth and nose; not only in coughs & sneezes, but also in normal conversation (20 minutes of conversation= a single cough).

Moreover, aerosols which are micrometer droplets can stay airborne for hours, spreading far beyond standard social distance.

Masks and face shields are effective to a certain extent in (1) blocking the spreads of droplets and aerosols, and (2) preventing the person from inhaling the droplets.

However, even with masks & shields, a certain amount of viral aerosol still spread, either through the materials or the gap between the mask/shield and the face and contaminate the air for a long time. Thus, ventilation is also key.

Modern buildings are mandated to practice mechanical ventilation which removes aerosol efficiently. This is also true for modern indoor facilities like stadiums, theaters, as well as some public transportation systems such as trains and airplanes. If everyone wears a mask in these environments, the chance of COVID-19 transmission would be lower.

However, many places lack proper ventilation, especially those in older buildings, such as schools, places of worship, restaurants, nursing homes, private residences, etc. In those places, in addition to putting on a mask, it is essential to actively practice ventilation. A diagonal pair of small openings of windows, doors, etc. at opposing corners was found effective as it allows coolers & heaters to work while still securing good ventilation, even without a mechanical fan.

Availability of vaccines and therapeutics will be vital to beat COVID-19, but good societal preventive measures based on sanitization, masks, and ventilation are equally important. In fact, as the world eagerly waits for vaccines and drugs, we also note that some countries have effectively controlled COVID-19 with extensive applications of the above captioned measures.

Wear mask and ventilate NOW to fight against COVID-19!