Which masks protect those around you best? Researchers weigh in

Thursday, July 2, 2020
Masks made from quilting cotton perform best in recent study
Researchers at Florida Atlantic University did a study to see which face mask works best to protect people around you.

Good hygiene, social distancing and face masks. By now we know that those are key components when it comes to protecting ourselves and one another from COVID-19. But all masks are not created equal.

Researchers at Florida Atlantic University did a study to see which works best to protect people around you.

Different fabrics, construction and fit - they put a wide variety of face coverings to the test, such as a bandanna, a loosely folded cotton handkerchief, the popular homemade double-layer cotton covering, and an over-the-counter cone style.

In the lab, the single layer bandana performed the worst, with respiratory droplets still traveling more than 3.5 feet. They also lingered in the air.

The best option was the homemade two-layer mask made of quilting cotton, a more densely woven fabric.

Droplets traveled up and down from the inside, but only 2.5 inches forward.

But ABC Medical Editor Dr. Jen Ashton says take this study with a grain a salt as the simulation is in a lab.

In the real world, wind, humidity and other factors can play role.

"To be clear we are at a stage when anything is better than nothing," said Ashton.


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