Bandannas, knitted masks are the least effective face coverings against Covid-19: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 11, 2020 Published on August 11, 2020

Researchers from the Duke University studied 14 different kinds of masks that are in trend amidst the Covid-19 pandemic that has necessitated the wearing of masks in public space.

According to the study, which was published in Science Advances, bandannas, gaiters, and knitted masks are some of the least effective face coverings for preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

The study noted that mask alternatives, including bandannas and neck fleece, offer very little protection against Covid-19 transmission. On the other hand, N-95 masks, which are often used by healthcare professionals, worked best to stop the transmission of respiratory droplets during the regular speech.

“We confirmed that when people speak, small droplets get expelled, so the disease can be spread by talking, without coughing or sneezing. We could also see that some face coverings performed much better than others in blocking expelled particles,” Martin Fischer, a chemist and physicist, explained in the study.

Some of the best masks include three-layer surgical masks and cotton masks, which can be made at home, the researchers said.

“We compared a variety of commonly available mask types and observed that some mask types approach the performance of standard surgical masks, while some mask alternatives, such as neck fleece or bandannas, offer very little protection. Our measurement set-up is inexpensive and can be built and operated by non-experts, allowing for rapid evaluation of mask performance during the speech, sneezing, or coughing,” the researchers further added .

They said that more research is needed to identify variations of results depending on the masks used, speakers, and how people wear them.

However, their study could prove to be a vital tool for companies on how to carry out their mask testing to determine which masks are best for employees, News Medical reported.

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Published on August 11, 2020
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