Certain gaiters no longer advised as COVID-19 facial coverings

Modesto Morganelli
Agosto 16, 2020

Duke University researchers tested the effectiveness of 14 different face coverings by shining iridescent light from a laser through slits in a dark box.

In July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield noted that while "we are not defenseless against COVID-19, the use of cloth face coverings is "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".

While previous research has determined that some fabrics and designs are more effective than others, these experiments were performed in laboratories with simulation models.

The study tested one gaiter and found that particles were able to get through, defeating the objective of wearing a facial covering.

In fact, wearing a fleece mask resulted in a higher number of respiratory droplets because the material seemed to break down larger droplets into smaller particles that are more easily carried away with air.

How Does the Experiment Test the Efficacy of Face Masks? The rest of the setup includes a box that can be made out of cardboard and a lens. Martin Fischer at Duke University said. The full study is published in Science Advances. At the third and fourth spot were the ones with polypropylene: the cotton-polypropylene-cotton mask and the 2-layer polypropylene apron mask. "We were able to use the scattering, and then tracking individual particles from frame to frame in the movie, to actually count the number of particles that got emitted". Although masks provide for some protection to the wearer, they are most useful in filtering droplets from the wearer. This, in turn, could raise the likelihood that someone wearing a neck gaiter transmits COVID-19 to others nearby.

With the fitted N95 mask rated the most efficient for stopping droplets, the next best mask was the typical surgical mask consisting of the light blue three-layer paper construction with just over 0.1 per cent droplet release rate.

"These neck gaiters are extremely common in a lot of places because they're very convenient to wear", he said.

In doing so, Westman said people could eliminate up to 99% of droplets before they reach someone else.

The scientists stated that the extra 10% of transmission was seen due to the fabric of the neck gaiter which allowed the large droplets to breakdown into many smaller ones, medically known as aerosols. Folded bandanas and knitted masks also didn't work very well. The valve version of the N95 mask is the same.

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