14 Face Masks, Here Are The Best, Worst For Covid-19 Coronavirus

  • 2020-08-31
  • 1078

Face masks can be like pizza, at least in certain ways.

People can end up wearing both on their faces, albeit for different reasons. Both can come in a wide variety of types and designs. And not all are created equal. Some (face masks, not pizza) are better than others at blocking droplets that may come out of your nose and mouth. In fact, some face coverings in some cases could actually make things worse, causing even more droplets to spew out into the air, according to a study just published in Science Advances.

Yes, you heard that correctly. Wearing some face coverings can be even worse than when you wear nothing at all. That isn’t quite how the song recorded by Alison Krauss goes, so how then can a face covering possibly be worse than wearing nothing but the smile on your face? Aren’t face coverings supposed to block all that stuff that comes out of your mouth and nose when you do things like cough, sneeze, talk, sing, pant, and say, “ohhh, pizza”? Aren’t face coverings supposed to help block your filthy nose and mouth from transmitting the Covid-19 coronavirus to others?

For the study, a team from Duke University (Emma P. Fischer, Martin C. Fischer, David Grass, Isaac Henrion, Warren S. Warren, and Eric Westman) created some “spitting” images of a person talking into a box. The study used freaking laser beams to do this. The laser beams created a sheet of light inside the black box in front of a hole in the box. So, essentially the experiment wasn’t just a black box.

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Next, the research team asked a person to position his or her mouth at the hole and repeat the phrase, “stay healthy, people,” five times. Therefore, anything that would come of the person’s mouth, whether it’s small droplets or hot dog fragments, would subsequently hit the sheet of light, causing the light to scatter. In other words, any droplets or particles would scatter the sheet out of it. A cell phone camera filmed this sheet show, which would allow the researchers to quantify how much stuff was coming out of the person’s mouth.

The person repeated this procedure multiple times, first without any face covering and subsequently with 14 different types of face masks. The person didn’t wear all 14 masks at once, which would have looked ridiculous. Instead, the person tried them one at a time. The research team established a relative droplet count scale with a 1.0 count representing the number of droplets that hit the sheet when the person had no face covering and 0.0 representing what happened with the best mask of the bunch. Again, keep in mind that this is just a person trying just one version of each of 14 different types of masks.

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