Bandannas and Neck Gaiters May Be Worse Than Wearing No Mask At All

August 11, 2020
CORONAVIRUS

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While the evidence continues to mount that cloth face masks work in slowing the spread of coronavirus, it’s also true that every mask isn’t equally effective. A new study by Duke University find that gaiter masks made from stretchy material, such as a neck gaiter preferred by runners, fishermen and other outdoorsmen, and bandannas may be just as ineffective as not wearing a mask at all. Tests found that water droplets escaping from an uncovered mouth traveled an average of 8 feet and as much as 12 feet, suggesting that the 6-foot recommendation for social distancing might not go far enough. While a double-layered cotton mask cut down the distance of water droplets to about 2.5 inches, water droplets from a mouth covered by a bandana traveled up to 3.5 feet!  The news is worse for gaiters as this study found the water droplets exhaled were actually higher than if they wore no mask at all. The researchers believe that the stretchy material breaks larger droplets into smaller particles, which can help them linger longer in the air than larger droplets.

SOURCE: Fast Company

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