Which Types Of Face Masks Are Safest?
Which Are The Safest COVID Masks -- And Which Let You Down?
The world has been turned upside down over the last five months. The strain on our society caused by the Coronavirus is second to none. Not since the terrible Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918 - 1919 have we seen the effects of a pandemic on our society. Even worse, the modern conveniences of transportation made the spread of the virus worse. And has largely compounded the issues that our nation and the world are facing today.
People took any number of preventative measures. Are you sick and tired of hearing the phrase "social distancing" yet? How about "alone together"? Or perhaps "two weeks to flatten the curve"? All of these compounded into a dramatic series of effects we are still trying to overcome. Several states issued mask mandates. Even former Vice President Joe Biden wants a national version of the mandate.
However, the result is a bunch of confusion about how to best tackle the disease. As we discuss below, this confusion is causing even further issues. Wearing high-quality masks is a positive step one can take to prevent the spread of disease. However, on the other hand, the wrong type of mask may result in even worse effects on the individual. Below we discuss some of the worst advice given since the start of the pandemic. We also discuss how to avoid the worst effects of the pandemic while also keeping your family safe.
Michael Ehline is the lead attorney in the Ehline Law Firm APLC based in Los Angeles, CA. Ehline is a proud Marine Corps veteran determined to keep his clients and the nation safe. Ehline's firm specializes in several studies of case law. This includes medical malpractice and personal injury liability. Ehline himself fought and won hundreds of clients and recovered millions for them.
His firm specifically accounts for the value of lost work, enjoyment of life, and the cost of medical rehab. All told, he is among the leading injury and medical malpractice firms in Southern California. Ehline writes this column as a means to inform the country better. His experience handling disease and medical error law in the past is second to none. These years of experience allow him to work with the best medical experts in the state.
While only a Juris Doctor and not an MD, his experience in the courtroom and with medical professionals gives him a unique view. It's this perspective that allows him to write this column.
Understanding The Role Of Masks.
Head outdoors, and you will see all sorts of face coverings. Some people use bandannas. Others utilize surgical N95 masks. And yet others use over-the-face masks. Each one has its advantages. Some types of masks reduce the chance of spreading the disease. It also reduces the chance of catching it by establishing a barrier between saliva and breath. However, this is not the whole story. Yes, many types of masks work.
These are important in slowing the spread of the Coronavirus. However, we must better understand the types of masks that do not have the desired effects. By better understanding this, we will be better able to understand why some work types and others do less so. In fact, scientists found that some types of masks actually increase the chance of catching the virus—more on that below.
Understanding The COVID Mask Study.
First, we must take a closer look at some of the science behind wearing masks. Scientists tested 14 types of facemasks. They had subjects breathe and filmed the results against a test audience without a mask. By recording the movement of droplets while speaking, they determined the efficacy of such masks. As a result, they found some very different results.
For the control trial (green curve), the five distinct peaks correspond to the five repetitions of the operator speaking. In the case of speaking through a mask, there is a physical barrier, which results in a reduction of transmitted droplets and a significant delay between speaking and detecting particles. In effect, the mask acts as a temporal low pass filter, smoothens the droplet rate over time, and reduces the overall transmission. For the bandana (red curve), the droplet rate is merely reduced by a factor of two and the repetitions of the speech are still noticeable. The effect of the cotton mask (orange curve) is much stronger.
As you can see, the results are not the same across the board. It also means that some people are using masks, believing that it makes them safer. However, in cases of using poor efficacy masks, they are, in fact, even less so. This has profound implications on the role of proper mask-wearing. And on the number of mask mandates passed by several states. As a result, our understanding is still muddled.
To Wear A Mask?
I highly recommend reading the article we cited above. It gives a better perspective from the scientists' point of view. It also shows how you can keep your family and neighbors safe. The article also gives advice on which types of face coverings are the safest. It would help if you had this info for the well-being of those around you. This also shows that there is considerable concern over the types of masks worn during the pandemic.
This is double the case for occasions in which the wearer believes that they are safer yet are not. It is during this time we need a better appreciation for the actual science behind masks. Keep it tuned here for updates on COVID, mask mandates, and legal opinions.
- Western Journal: Scientists Reveal Certain Masks May Be More Dangerous Than Wearing None At All
- Ehline Law website: Ehline Law legal blog
- Science Advances, August 7, 2020: Low-cost measurement of facemask efficacy for filtering expelled droplets during a speech
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