Most blue surgical face masks used by many during the pandemic are not enough to avoid people from being infected with COVID-19, an alarming new study has found.
The study from the University of Waterloo in Canada showed N95 or KN95 masks did the best job in containing aerosol droplets from the wearer’s mouth.
The blue, cloth surgical masks that have become popular during the pandemic were found be only 10 percent effective as it doe not cover the face properly.
‘There is no question it is beneficial to wear any face covering, both for protection in close proximity and at a distance in a room,’ study leader Serhiy Yarusevych, a professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering, said in a statement.
‘However, there is a very serious difference in the effectiveness of different masks when it comes to controlling aerosols.’
The guidelines revolving around mask have continuously changed over the past year and a half as federal and local governments struggle to set mandates
Yarusevych and team said that many people wear masks that don’t fit their faces properly, unlike the N95, which straps itself tightly around the wearer.
This causes aerosol droplets to escape through multiple openings between a person’s face and the cloth mask, which could spread COVID-19 in populous areas.
The N95 was conversely able to filter over 50% of aerosol droplets while the other half is dispersed above the wearer’s head.
‘A lot of this may seem like common sense,’ Yarusevych comments. ‘There is a reason, for instance, that medical practitioners wear N95 masks – they work much better. The novelty here is that we have provided solid numbers and rigorous analysis to support that assumption.’
Yarusevych team added that ventilation tests revealed even modest ventilation rates provide about the same level of protection as the highest quality masks.
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden’s former COVID-19 advisor and top epidemiologist warned Americans ‘that many of the face cloth coverings that people wear are not very effective’.
Michael Osterholm spoke with CNN saying that people need to start wearing N95 respirators which are more effective against COVID-19.
Michael Osterholm explained that he dislikes the term masking as it suggest that any face covering will protect from the spread of Covid-19 which is not accurate
‘We’re in a very unfortunate situation, we’ve really brought this country to a point of confusion which really misses the main point that we should be focusing on vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,’ said Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
He explained his contention with the term ‘masking’ saying, ‘You know I wish we could get rid of the term masking because in fact it implies that anything you put in front of your face works and if I could just add an nuance to that which hopefully doesn’t add more confusion is we know today that many of the face cloth coverings that people wear are not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out.’
The CDC has been criticized for its confusing stance on masks after it reversed its mask guidelines. But cities and states say they need to see the evidence before revising their own policies.
Federal officials say unpublished data showed vaccinated people infected with COVID-19 may be able to transmit the virus, leading them to recommend that everyone should wear a mask indoors in areas of high transmission.
Texas and Florida have championed mandates banning mask requirements in the classroom, but on Friday, the Supreme Court of Texas rejected Governor Greg Abbott’s latest bid to scrap mask mandates.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been leading the anti-mask charge alongside his Republican colleague Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Kids going into class with masks on for their first day back at school in Richardson, Texas, Tuesday
Abbott, who tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, is leading the anti-mask charge along with his Republican colleague, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
School boards and local officials are wary of rapidly increasing COVID infections in Texas as the delta variant plagues the nations, arguing that masks are needed for children too young to take the vaccine.
It comes despite the virus posing almost zero risk to kids, as well as evidence which shows that masks inhibit learning in children and cause psychological harms.
Texas has confirmed nearly 19,000 new cases as of Saturday with 190 new deaths, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Florida reported more than 150,000 new cases for the week and nearly 1,500 new deaths.
But the local officials are emboldened in their stance by President Joe Biden who has warned he’s ‘very concerned’ about states like Texas defying masks and pledging to provide financial assistance to school districts in Florida that enforce mask in defiance of DeSantis.
Meanwhile leaders in Democrat-led states and cities have moved swiftly to impose COVID-19 mask and vaccine requirements in the face of the Delta variant, including California, Illinois, Kentucky and New Jersey.
In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee has mandated vaccines for all school workers, including bus drivers and janitors.
U.S. health officials Wednesday announced plans to dispense booster shots to all Americans to shore up their protection amid the surging delta variant and signs that the vaccines’ effectiveness is slipping.
Biden has recently put various public employees under vaccine mandates, including federal workers, military members and nurses.
The president has also praised businesses who mandate vaccines for their own workers and encouraged others to follow, as well as highlighting local vaccine mandates as a condition for daily activities, like indoor dining.