The Scottish Mail on Sunday
The vacuum bag mask – for clean bill of health
THE humble vacuum cleaner bag leaves the competition for dust when it comes to stopping the spread of coronavirus, according to health chiefs.
A range of household items were turned into masks to test which were the most effective at preventing Covid-19 from being passed on.
With face coverings now recommended on public transport and in shops, people are creating their own. And after testing fabrics, including silk, cotton T-shirts, scarves and tea towels, NHS Scotland research, published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, concluded that an adapted dust bag can cut the risk of catching the virus by almost as much as a surgical mask.
The team – from the Universities of Leeds and Arizona as well as microbiologist Professor Stephanie Dancer of NHS Lanarkshire and Edinburgh Napier University – found the highest quality mask worn by medics reduced the risk of infection by 99 per cent during a 30-second exposure, but a covering made from a vacuum cleaner bag cut the danger by 83 per cent, compared with wearing nothing at all.
They are believed to be so effective because they are typically made with three layers of material to collect the tiniest particles of dust.
Gillian Martin, Nationalist MSP for Aberdeenshire East, made a DIY version in March when she had the virus. She said: ‘It has survived multiple washings. I hope to see more people wearing them.’