Study shows best non-med­i­cal face mask to pro­tect against coro­n­avirus

Merced Sun-Star - - Livingston Chronicle - BY LAU­REN THEISEN

A study con­ducted by re­searchers at Florida At­lantic Univer­sity has found that the best type of non-med­i­cal face mask to pro­tect against coro­n­avirus is a stitched mask made from two lay­ers of quilt­ing fab­ric.

With mask-wear­ing manda­tory or at least en­cour­aged in many ar­eas to slow the spread of the virus, many Amer­i­cans have taken to mak­ing their own masks or buy­ing low-cost ones from the store. While none of these masks reaches the level of ef­fec­tive­ness that med­i­cal­grade masks and res­pi­ra­tors do, some of them are still bet­ter than oth­ers.

In the study, re­searchers used a man­nequin head, a man­ual pump, and a smoke gen­er­a­tor to ap­prox­i­mate a hu­man sneeze. Then, they mapped the paths of droplets to see how they were al­tered by var­i­ous kinds of masks.

Ac­cord­ing to the study, droplets from an un­cov­ered cough could travel over 8 feet. But with var­i­ous kinds of masks, that dis­tance was much more lim­ited. Here’s how each type stacked up against each other.

• Stitched-quilt­ing fab­ric mask: 2.5 inches

• Cone-style mask: 8 inches

• Folded cot­ton hand­ker­chief: 1.25 feet

• Ban­dana: 3 feet

This data helps ex­plain why or­ga­ni­za­tions like the WHO and the CDC rec­om­mend masks in set­tings where so­cial dis­tanc­ing is not pos­si­ble. The WHO also says to make sure the mask is not too loose and that it cov­ers both the mouth and nose. Ad­di­tion­ally, wear­ers should keep them in a clean bag if they plan to re­use them, and wash them daily with soap and wa­ter.

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