Want to update your coronavirus face mask? A new study has identified the most and least effective face coatings, with a face mask specifically claiming that the No. 1 site was the most effective in limiting the spread of COVID-19.
Researchers at Duke University compared 14 commonly available masks and face coatings to see which ones were most effective at stopping the spread of respiratory drops. The best face coatings to prevent drip spreading were N95 masks without valves, they found, while fleece covers and bandanas proved to be “counterproductive.”
The main route of spread of coronavirus is said to be from person to person through respiratory droplets containing the virus when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These drops can land in the mouth or nose of nearby people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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It is also estimated that up to 40% of those infected have no symptoms, emphasizing the need for widespread use of face masks to slow the spread of the virus.
Researchers used a simple optical measurement method for a mobile phone camera and laser pointer to illuminate particles emitted by someone wearing various face coatings and masks.
They found that neck fleece, or bandana, “offers very little protection” and actually spreads large drops in a variety of smaller drops.
“Given that smaller particles are airborne longer than large droplets (larger droplets sink faster), the use of such a mask can be counterproductive,” the authors’ studies wrote.
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Cotton masks offer more protection, and surgical masks are even better at blocking drops, researchers found.
Finally, fitted, non-ventilated N95 masks performed “far superior” than ventilated N95 masks because the exhalation valve opens up to strong airflow outward, and therefore they pose a greater risk of exposure in the vicinity, researchers said.
The study was published Friday in Science Advances.
Fox News’ Stephen Sorace contributed to this report.
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