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Mask sales soar despite doubts they block coronavirus

Hakugen Earth sold 4 million masks on Jan. 22

Chinese tourists travelling to Japan for the Lunar New Year holiday, which began on Janaury 25, have also raided Japan's drugstores and convenience stores in search of high quality Japanese surgical masks.

TOKYO -- Will wearing a surgical mask help protect against the new coronavirus that originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has so far killed more than 80 people?

"Masks do not have the preventive effect people might expect," Satoshi Hori, Professor of Infection Control Science at Juntendo University in Tokyo, told the Nikkei Asian Review. "Wearing a mask works to help prevent patients with the virus from spreading it, as it blocks the dispersal of droplets containing the virus."

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