Scientists tested the effectiveness of 14 types of face masks: study findings
Bandanas and knitted masks are among the least effective protective face covers for preventing the spread of the coronavirus, according to a new study. Writes about it New York Post.
Researchers at Duke University tested 14 different types of masks.
Masks such as N95, which are used by healthcare professionals, have been best at helping to stop the transmission of respiratory droplets during normal speech.
Three-layer surgical masks and cotton masks, which can be made at home, were other good remedies for preventing leakage. And while bandanas and knitted headbands may look unusual, they didn't provide much protection, according to a study.
The scientists also found that the neckbands that runners often wear were the least effective and actually allowed more respiratory droplets to escape than without a mask at all.
This is because they break down large droplets into smaller particles, which makes it easier for them to seep through the mask.
“We were extremely surprised to find that the number of particles in such a mask actually exceeds the number of particles without any mask,” said Martin Fischer, one of the authors of the study. "We want to emphasize that we really encourage people to wear masks, but we want them to wear masks that really work."
To test the masks, the scientists used a black box equipped with a laser and a cell phone camera.
Someone wearing a mask spoke in the direction of a laser beam inside the box. Then, the number of respiratory drops scattered by the beam was recorded by a camera at the back of the box.
A computer algorithm counted the drops seen in the video to determine how many of them leaked through the mask.
The researchers said it is an inexpensive and effective method of testing which face masks work and which don't.
“This is a very powerful visual tool to raise awareness that very basic masks like homemade cotton masks do help stop most of these respiratory droplets,” Fischer said. "Companies and manufacturers can create the same setup and test their masks before manufacturing them, which would also be very helpful."
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