The performance of well fitted home made masks with multiple padding and layers was much better which were able to block the smallest respiratory particles that travel with great speed.
How effective is a face mask in protecting you from airborne particles of COVID-19? Over 6 months have passed since the onset of the global spread of Coronavirus, however research about its seminal characteristics remains non-conclusive. Recent study published in the New York Times by 239 health experts and scientists from different countries have written to the World Health Organisation (WHO) hinting at the possibility of the virus infecting people via airborne particles. After the publication of the report and other similar claims made by health experts in the past, a new debate has arisen on the effectiveness of the face mask in shielding us from the airborne infectant particles of Covid-19.
A research on the issue of the efficacy of different types of mask in blocking the transmission has been published by Florida Atlantic University. The research has found that different types of masks have varied performance depending on factors like fabric used, number of layers used, shape of the mask and fitting of the mask among others, IE reported. The research was based on the principles of the fluid mechanics and resorted to the use of mannequin to simulate artificial coughs and tracked the movement of the particles by using laser technique. The major research findings which have been published in the Physics of Fluids journal are following
1. Face masks made of loosely folded handkerchief were least effective in blocking the tiniest of the air particles. Similar was the case with ‘bandanna-style’ coverings.
2. However, the performance of well fitted home made masks with multiple padding and layers was much better which were able to block the smallest respiratory particles that travel with great speed. Cone shaped commercial masks were also found to be working effectively in deflecting the respiratory particles.
3. However, even tightly fitted masks with multiple padding failed to block some particles through its surface. Leakages were also reported from the edges of the cone-shaped commercial masks.
4. The research also found that without a face mask the respiratory particles of a coughing person can travel far beyond the 6 feet distance suggested by earlier studies. The 6 feet mandatory distance among individuals has been suggested by many health experts around the world to stop the spread of the virus. The mannequin was projecting droplets much farther than 6 feet without a mask and the distance got reduced by 1/8th after the simple use of handkerchief folded mask and half after applying the bandanna type mask. Well fitted masks with multiple padding proved most effective.
5. The bandanna made mask used in the research was made up of elastic t-shirt material. The handkerchief folded masks were made of cotton while cone shaped masks were manufactured by assorted material.
The indispensability of face masks has been emphasised beyond doubt in public places to stem the spread of Coronavirus, however as recent studies have shown, the kind of masks with proper fitting and handling is also very crucial in the fight against Coronavirus