Gaiter mask problem

by Jon Sullivan - 2020-08-11 - Stories

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Science says the mask style I use is worse than not wearing a mask at all. That's just awesome.

Science is my religion. So when a peer reviewed study comes out saying I'm living my life completely wrong, I take notice. Specifically, this Duke University study comparing the effectiveness of 14 mask styles against droplet transmission. With headlines announcing "Neck gaiters may actually increase COVID-19 transmission, study finds". I wear a gaiter style mask.

For fuck sake...... Two things..... 1) The study doesn't say that. Why do journalists NEVER get science right? And 2) I always wear two masks, a surgical mask and a gaiter mask over it, so I think, per the study, I'm fine. The studies conclusions on the gaiter mask are related to the material, fleece, not the style, and indicate that material structure may project out more small droplets. So any mask style made of fleece may indeed be worse than no mask at all if we assume many small droplets spread Covid worse than a few large droplets, which seems to be true.

Jon's takeaway : If you are using a fleece mask, you probably shouldn't be, at least going by this one study.

My preference for the pandemic is a belt and suspenders approach, so I've always gone with a surgical mask to block droplets, and a polyester (not fleece) gaiter mask to make sure it's tight over my face and doesn't leak on the sides or bottom. I also tape the surgical mask at the top to keep it in place. And use some anti-fog stuff on my glasses to keep them clear.

That whole process is a pain in the ass. And of course breathing through two masks is harder than no mask at all. But it works fine even on walkies where the goal is to get all sweaty and out of breath. But the extra effort is worth it if I know I'm not one of the filthy animals spreading Covid and killing people.

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