If You're Not Doing This, Your Mask Won't Protect You, Study Says

Wearing a mask is one of the easiest and most important steps you can take to protect yourself and stop the spread of COVID. However, a recent study concluded that wearing a mask, without taking other important precautions, may not help protect you. The study, published December 22nd in Physics of Fluids, found that wearing a mask without social distancing is likely not enough to prevent the spread of COVID. To see why a mask alone isn't enough, read on and learn more about the future of mask wear. Dr. Fauci says this is when you can throw away your face mask.
The study looked at whether face masks could provide protection against sneezing and coughing in the air when people are close together in face-to-face interactions. The researchers used a machine to simulate coughing and sneezing against five different types of masks, including an N95 mask, a surgical mask, a two-layer cloth mask, a regular cloth, and a damp two-layer cloth mask. They found that face masks are not always effective at protecting people from COVID if they are not at least three feet apart.
"If the relevant guidelines on social distancing are compromised, the study shows that sneezing and coughing in the air can happen to all masks tested (with the exception of the N-95 mask), even if a 100 percent fit is assumed," it says it in the study. While the masks drastically reduced the number of droplets that were spread, enough droplets got through the material to potentially cause disease if the distance was less than six feet.
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"A mask definitely helps, but when people are very close together, there is still a chance the virus could spread or become infected," study author Krishna Kota, PhD, said in a statement. "It's not just masks that help. It's both the masks and the distancing."
Of course, there are some masks that protect you from coronavirus better than others. Read on to avoid four face coverings. Dr. As a precaution, Fauci advises against this one COVID security measure.
1
Used masks
A young woman wearing a face mask outdoors while holding a yoga mat.
We were all guilty of reusing our masks a few times too many times, but a recent study found that this action can be dangerous. The study, published December 15 in Physics of Fluids, concluded that wearing a used or worn mask can in some cases be worse than not wearing no mask.
According to research, a new three-layer surgical mask filters particles 65 percent efficiently. However, when the mask is worn out, it drops to just 25 percent. In addition, the researchers found that worn masks caused wearers to inhale more particles than those without an inhaled mask. For more up-to-date information, subscribe to our daily newsletter.
2
Face protection
Construction worker wearing a face mask without a mask
Face protection seems like a great alternative to face masks, but the World Health Organization (WHO) warns against using them. In a December 1 update, the WHO indicated that wearing a face shield without a mask would not prevent the wearer's droplets from infecting others or prevent other people's droplets from infecting them. And for the latest coronavirus news, Dr. Fauci just a warning about the new strain of COVID in the US.
3
Masks with valves
Girl wearing a face mask with a valve in it
Face masks with valves, while providing a more comfortable experience, are practically useless. Research by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) on November 10 found that face masks with ventilation valves did not stop the spread of COVID. According to the study, droplets with a valve could move through a mask almost as far and as quickly as they would without a face covering. For more information on the current state of the coronavirus spread, see How Bad is the COVID Outbreak in Your State.
4th
Masks without three layers
Woman with face mask looking out the window at a bus
The latest findings show that a mask must have three separate layers to protect you from coronavirus. A November study by Virginia Tech that tested 11 different face masks confirmed that those with three layers offered the most protection against COVID. And in order to avoid any other type of face covering, the FDA has just issued a warning against this type of face mask.

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