Jon, mask enthusiast

by Jon Sullivan - 2022-03-15 - Opinion

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Is Covid over? Are we over Covid? Can we travel now? If mask wearing was mainly just being a kind and responsible citizen, what now?

Let me be on record as a mask enthusiast. Long before Covid I was onboard with the idea that everyone should wear a mask if they were sick or at risk. Much like in pre-covid Japan, I've long seen it as just proper etiquette. So..... yeah... I'll be wearing a mask. But as an enthusiast, what's my opinion on mask tech in 2022? What masks do I wear? Thank you for asking. Here's my take on the best masks in 2022.

First of all, these opinions are based on my personal needs and preferences. My beard causes issues. I have glasses and can't see if they fog up, so that's a major consideration. I don't want to be wasting my time and comfort on something that doesn't really help, so how well it works is important. So these scores are for me, and if you just blindly follow my preferences you might die. If I was going to weight the various factors that matter to me, it would breakdown like this :

20% fogging - Do my glasses fog up? Pretty much non-negotiable.
20% coverage - Is air going through the filter (good) or the sides (bad)?
15% comfort - Will it make me hate my life decisions?
15% ease of use - Will it make me hate my life decisions?
10% portability - Can I carry it in a pocket, ready to deploy?
10% breathability - Not that important, but a factor.
10% filter - Is the filter legit?

Other criteria - Speaking, Working, Cost of mask/filter, Looks, Maintenance, Durability

Here are the masks I have in my PPE station by the front door, with scores and breakdown. Score breakdown is in the same order as the percentages above.

Surgical - 15/5/11/13/9/9/6 = 68
Atom - 14/12/13/14/10/7/1 = 71
Halo - 17/17/13/10/3/6/7 = 72
Gill (pro only) - 18/19/13/14/1/9/8 = 80
Airhead - 20/20/9/14/1/8/8 = 80

This article has some good alternate opinions. Also, I've tried many variations of N95 masks, but all of them fog my glasses. I'd probably just go with those if they worked for me. They don't.

For just walking around town with not much close contact I typically use the Atom mask. You can wad it up in a ball and it's fine, which I love. Sadly the filter effectiveness is not great. For things like planes, crowds, shopping, I usually use the Gill mask (pro only). It's portability is quite bad, as you have to carry it in a box or bag. But the coverage, filter and breathability are great. If fogging overcomes all the others, the Airhead mask pretty much eliminates fogging for me. And it's coverage is the best I've tried. But it's a beast. Probably not for the casual mask user.

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