A major way of managing the current COVID-19 pandemic has been the use of face masks. As time has gone on, a growing consensus has developed around their value in blocking the transmission of Sars-CoV-2.
According to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, “cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”
However, not all masks are equally effective at stopping the spread of the virus. Standard tests to determine how they perform are yet to be agreed on, in part because the precise way the virus transmits is yet to be fully understood.
The first step in examining mask effectiveness is to develop these tests. Further, it is important to design cheap and accessible assessments. Global supplies of medical masks are currently limited, so alternatives, including homemade masks, are being encouraged and used as well.
A team of researchers from the University Of Toronto has now developed a system to determine the effectiveness of face masks for restricting the number of respiratory droplets a person projects. Have a look at the video and the finding of the researchers below :
By wearing a mask and blocking the covid infected nano particles, you can help slow the spread of the virus by limiting the distance it travels.
Masking can also prevent much of the virus from penetrating the mask wearer, providing a sort of "immunity" type effect. This also leads to many more "asymptomatic" and much less severe cases.
Single layer polyester "Gator mask" and Bandannas : These are widely available but are made of materials that are far too thin and don’t have enough of a "thread count" to stop the virus from spreading.
Valve Masks: Can be expensive and does a poor job of filtering the virus particles. They seem to spew / shoot the virus further spreading it.
Disposable Polypropylene Surgical Masks : Perform the best at blocking the virus and are on par with the more expensive / harder to find N95 masks.
100% Cotton Masks : If you have a multi layered mask with a thread count of above 600. They perform VERY WEL. Surprisingly well in fact, considering the price and availability.