While some masks may be as protective as standard surgical masks against COVID-19, new research suggests that one type may make things worse.
In particular, neck waves can be worse than wearing no mask, according to researchers at Duke University.
“We have noticed that speaking through some masks (especially the fleece on the neck) seems to scatter the largest droplets into many smaller droplets, which explains the apparent increase in the number of droplets compared to the lack of a mask in this case,”
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Because smaller particles are carried in the air for longer than larger droplets, which sink faster, “using such a mask can be counterproductive,” the researchers said.
Similarly, the study showed that bandanas “do not block the droplets at all.”
Researchers from Duke provided a visual study to prove that face masks are effective in reducing the transmission of drops. After testing 14 commonly available masks or alternatives to masks, the researchers found that not all masks were effective tools against the spread of the virus.
“We confirmed that when people talk, small droplets are expelled so that the disease can be spread by talking, without coughing or sneezing,” said one of the study’s co-authors, Dr. Martin Fischer. the coatings perform much better than the others, blocking the expelled particles. “
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The researchers note that the best face cover is N95 masks without flaps – which are used by frontline health workers – although surgical or polypropylene masks also perform well.
Handmade cotton face coatings also “provide good coverage” and eliminate “significant amounts” of spray when someone speaks.
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“Wearing a mask is a simple and easy way to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” co-author and doctor of Duke Dr. Eric Westman said. “About half of the infections are from people who show no symptoms and often do not know they are infected. They can unknowingly spread the virus when they cough, sneeze and just talk.
In doing so, Westman said people can eliminate up to 99% of the droplets before they reach anyone else.
“In the absence of a vaccine or antiviral drug, this is a proven way to protect others as well as yourself,” he added.
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In July, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, noted that while “we are not vulnerable to COVID-19, the use of face cloths is” one of the most powerful weapons we must slow down. and stop the spread of the virus – especially when used universally in the community. “