The consensus is clear in the medical community about one thing:
Wearing a mask will not keep you from getting COVID.
Yet 18 states and the District of Columbia have issued orders requiring their citizens to wear masks. The logic is to try to stop the spread of the virus, but details have been sorely missing.
Today, we hope to fill in some of those gaps by sharing the research we’ve found.
Recent research conducted by Florida Atlantic University tested 3 types of masks head-to-head to see just how effective they are.
First up was a simple bandana worn over the mouth and nose like an old-school bank robber.
Next up was a homemade mask that used two layers of material.
And finally we had a non-sterile cone mask.
The group found that bandanna-style coverings reduced the distance traveled by droplets by 1/8 to 1/2 of an uncovered cough.
Well-fitted homemade masks with multiple layers of quilting fabric and off-the-shelf cone style masks proved to be the most effective.
Some leakage notwithstanding, these masks reduced the number of droplets significantly more.
In other research, Professor Yang Wang (recognized internationally for his award-winning aerosol research) conducted a similar study where they tested several interesting material combinations.
They NY Times, reporting on the research states:
The best medical mask — called the N95 respirator — filters out at least 95 percent of particles as small as 0.3 microns. By comparison, a typical surgical mask — made using a rectangular piece of pleated fabric with elastic ear loops — has a filtration efficiency ranging from 60 to 80 percent.
Dr Wang’s group used a combination of materials to try to achieve the same level of effectiveness as the “gold standard” N95.
They tested a chopped up HVAC filter vs a chopped up furnace filter.
An allergy-reduction HVAC filter worked the best, capturing 89 percent of particles with one layer and 94 percent with two layers. A furnace filter captured 75 percent with two layers, but required six layers to achieve 95 percent.
There was just one problem… the small particles from the filters were risky to inhale!
Researchers went on to find that sandwiching these filters between a typical homemade 2-layer mask worked better with some fabrics than others. From the NY Times article:
A 600 thread count pillowcase captured just 22 percent of particles when doubled, but four layers captured nearly 60 percent. A thick woolen yarn scarf filtered 21 percent of particles in two layers, and 48.8 percent in four layers. A 100 percent cotton bandana did the worst, capturing only 18.2 percent when doubled, and just 19.5 percent in four layers.
The group also tested Brew Rite and Natural Brew basket-style coffee filters, which, when stacked in three layers, showed 40 to 50 percent filtration efficiency — but they were less breathable than other options.
Additional research by Dr. Segal of Wake Forest Baptist Health achieved the same efficiency as a surgical mask (60% to 80%) with heavy duty cotton.
He also found that other common fabrics tested as low as 1% filtration.
PS From what we found, the short version is this…
Most masks–even the “good” ones–only filtered out 60% to 80% of particles… but N95 masks capture at least 95 percent of particles–as small as 0.3 microns…
Problem is, it’s been next to impossible to get your hands on an N95 until now.
- https ://www. nytimes. com/article/coronavirus-homemade-mask-material-DIY-face-mask-ppe. html
- https ://publishing. Aip. org/publications/latest-content/face-mask-construction-materials-matter-for-containing-coughing-sneezing-droplets/