Science

Home-made cotton face masks do more harm than good amidst Covid-19: Study

Mumbai | Updated on September 29, 2020 Published on September 29, 2020

N95 masks, common surgical masks successfully prevent entry of aerosolised particles dispersed during breathing, talking and coughing: Scientific Reports journal

A recent study published in scientific journal Scientific Reports compares surgical/professionally created masks with homemade cloth masks.

The researchers found that N95 masks and common surgical masks successfully prevented the entry of aerosolised particles dispersed during breathing, talking and coughing.

While home-made cloth face covers are not only inefficient in banning the entry of the aerosolised particles, but also release a fair amount of their fibres into the air along with the virus, the researchers found.

The study was carried out at the University of California.

The study also revealed that there can be some cases of super emissions. One in 10 persons can be “super emitters” of the aerosolised particles and can produce more than 100 times the amount of these particles than a normal person.

However, in the case of surgical and N-95 masks, almost 90 per cent of particles were blocked compared with having no mask. Face covers were successful in limiting the number of particles even from the super emitters.

Hence, the researchers claimed that home-made cotton masks released more particles than not wearing a mask. These particles weren’t necessarily coming out the mouth, but very tiny fibres of the mask itself that were being released in the air.

The cotton masks are only capable of blocking larger aerosolised particles.

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Published on September 29, 2020
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