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An Investigation by Scientist: What’s The Best Type of Mask for COVID-19 Protection?
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An Investigation by Scientist: What’s The Best Type of Mask for COVID-19 Protection?

During the pandemic of COVID-19 wearing face masks has become our part of daily life. Hence, they need to be chosen with care so we can effectively decrease the spread of COVID-19.

Unsplash/ Jérémy Stenuit
Unsplash/ Jérémy Stenuit

In the US, the filtration efficiency of various types of masks worn by public and professional has been investigated by a research team. As they found, nylon masks could be 79 percent effective in blocking the viruses that could hold the epidemic if it is worn properly.

A scientist from the North Carolina School of Medicine in a partnership with the US Environmental Protection Agency studied the quality of protection provided by many types of face masks, from medical masks to consumer-grade masks by the public and makeshift face coverings. To do this, they used a procedure based on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha) Fit Test was used to analyze the fitted filtering performance of masks. There are 12 types of facial protection in total that were tested, worn by an adult, who performed a sequence of repetitive motions of the torso, head, and facial muscles.

The research indicates that improvised masks can prove effective as long as they would be correctly fitted and worn, based on Journal Jama Medicine.

Furthermore, the unmodified medical procedure masks with ear loops or known as surgical masks have 38.5 percent filtration efficiency, the researchers explained. When the ear loops are knotted to more tighten the fit, it can be improved up to 60.3 percent or 80 percent if there is a layer of nylon.

In other terms, the masks for consumer-grade was “two-layer woven nylon mask, with ear loops and nose bridge, washed, no insert” that has top 79 percent and closely led to “two-layer woven nylon mask, with ear loops and nose bridge, and one non-woven insert” with 74.4 percent.

Note that the cotton bandana folded "bandit" style claimed to have 49 percent effective, whereas the three-layer woven cotton mask with ear loops was the least effective within 26.5 percent.

The most effective masks are medical masks, the 3M 9210 NIOSH-approved respirator mask is having 98 percent whereas a surgical mask with ties is less effective with 71.4 percent. Moreover, a surgical mask with ear loops has 38.5 percent effective except the loops were tied and corners tucked in it have 60.3 percent.

Co-first author Philip Clapp, Ph.D., an inhalation toxicologist and assistant professor of pediatrics at the UNC School of Medicine stated that while modifications to surgical masks can enhance the filtering capabilities and reduce inhalation of airborne particles by improving the fit of the mask, they demonstrate that the fitted filtration efficiencies of many consumer-grade masks were nearly equivalent to or better than surgical masks.

In addition to informing people about the efficiency of the different types of face masks provided and the appropriate ways to use them, the observations may also allow the creation of the "ultimate" face mask to help avoid the spread of the virus.

Here are the different mask types with filtration efficacy:

Unsplash/ Jason Yoder
Unsplash/ Jason Yoder

Consumer-grade facemasks:

2-layer woven nylon mask, ear loops, w/o aluminum nose bridge: 44.7%
2-layer woven nylon mask, ear loops, w/ aluminum nose bridge: 56.7%
2-layer woven nylon mask, ear loops, w/ nose bridge, 1 non-woven insert: 74.4%
2-later woven nylon mask, ear loops, w/ nose bridge, washed, no insert: 79%
Cotton bandana - folded Surgeon General style: 50%
Cotton bandana - folded "Bandit" style: 49 %
Single-layer woven polyester gaiter/neck cover (balaclava bandana): 37.8%
Single-layer woven polyester/nylon mask with ties: 39.7%
Non-woven polypropylene mask with fixed ear loops: 28.6%
Three-layer woven cotton mask with ear loops: 26.5%

Medical procedure mask and modifications designed to enhance mask fit or comfort for the wearer. A mask w/ear loops (A) modified by tying the ear loops and tucking in the side pleats (B), attaching ear loops to a 3D-printed

Medical procedure mask and modifications designed to enhance mask fit or comfort for the wearer. A mask w/ear loops (A) modified by tying the ear loops and tucking in the side pleats (B), attaching ear loops to a 3D-printed

UNC School of Medicine

Medical facemasks and modifications:

3M 9210 NIOSH-approved N95 Respirator: 98%
Surgical mask with ties: 71.4%
Procedure mask with ear loops: 38.5%
Procedure mask with ear loops + "loops tied and corners tucked in": 60.3%
Procedure mask with ear loops + "Ear Guard": 61.7%
Procedure mask with ear loops + "23mm claw hair clip": 64.8%
Procedure mask with ear loops + "Fix-the Mask (3 rubber bands)": 78.2%
Procedure mask with ear loops + "nylon hosiery sleeve": 80.2%

After this long survival with COVID-19, do you already wear the proper mask with the highest efficiency yet? Now, choose the best mask to protect ourselves from viruses.


Source: The Jakarta Post | EurekAlert! 

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