According to researchers on April 20, 2021, they stated that not just wearing masks but ensuring that they are snug is likely to reduce the risks of coronavirus infection than any other type of safety precautions.
From the new strain of coronavirus in different areas, experts from CDC recommended people to double mask; this came after finding out that the new strain is more potent and likely to infect people with single masks, especially if they are loose-fitting.
However, the new study concluded that it’s all about good fitting. Even two ill-fitting cloth masks will not provide as much protection as one snug surgical mask.
“We’ve found that wearing two loosely fitted masks will not give you the filtration benefit that one, snug-fitting procedure mask will,” said Emily Sickbert-Bennett, a lead author. Emily is also an assistant professor of the infectious diseases department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Subsequently, the UNC researchers carried out a series of lab tests to scrutinize the FFE (Fitted Filtration Efficiency) of several types of masks. From the research, they concluded that the filtration efficiency varies from person to person. This is due to each person’s face shape, which determines the fitting of various masks.
The study also added that without modifying the fit, a surgical mask or a procedure mask could keep off between 40% -60% COVID19-sized particles out effectively, while a cloth mask is approximately 40% effective.
It is impossible to achieve any protection by wearing two surgical masks. However, experts advised having a cloth mask worn over a surgical mask since it improved the effectiveness by around 20%. Even better, protection improved when people double layered with a tight-fitting, sleeve-type mask, similar to a gaiter.
Furthermore, researchers also said that layering cloth masks on top of surgical masks remove gaps and securely hold the procedure mask closer to the face, steadily covering the whole nose and mouth.
Conversely, wearing a surgical mask over a cloth mask, FFE upgraded by nearly 16%.
“With the current data supporting how effective mask-wearing is at preventing the spread of COVID-19, the best kind of double-masking is when you and the person you are interacting with are each correctly wearing a very snug-fitting mask.” Sickbert-Bennett also added in a university news publication.
Wearing a mask is an issue with many dilemmas on what’s effective and what’s not. This way, the experts also issued proper guidelines to help people understand more about their safety against coronavirus. For instance;
- A mask works best when everyone is wearing it.
- Wearing a mask should not replace social distancing, especially when you are indoors and around visitors.
- People should wear masks anytime they are outdoors and in public settings with lots of people.
- After removing or touching your mask, you should wash your hands with soap or water or use a sanitizer.
Experts will continue to update on the effectiveness of different types of masks as strains continue to change. In the meantime, double mask with snug-fitting!