Mask Up: Best and Worst Facial Coverings

Mask Up: Best and Worst Facial Coverings

Alyssa Arenas

From the beginning of this year, COVID-19 has spread all over the world and forced people to be confined into quarantine and wear masks when they go outside. This virus has forced people to change their everyday lives.  One of those changes is wearing masks.  

Masks protect people from catching COVID-19 making them essential these days.   Whether you are shopping at the grocery stores, going to pharmacies, to the doctor, or basically anywhere, your mask is the newest accessory in your life. 

While masks have been protecting people from catching COVID-19, not all masks are guaranteed to work equally.  There are two types of masks that are better at protecting people from COVID.

Many makeshift masks could be seen covering people’s mouths and noses, especially in the beginning of the pandemic when bandanas, scarfs, home-made masks, or simple cloth and string were used frequently. Though these types of masks may work, there are only a few that work efficiently.

Fabric masks are a good way of protecting oneself from coronavirus. The protective layer of fabric can help effectively block small bacteria or germs. “Surprisingly, the four layers of paper gives you adequate protection,” says Chu, an epidemiologist at the Colorado School of Public Health. Not just that, but the mask itself helps make it breathable to the wearer so they don’t feel suffocated. 

Then there are medical type masks, which are the top of the line masks that keep people safe. Medical masks are known to block 95% of small airborne particles and are ever efficient to keep others safe. While there are surgical masks that are somewhat loose, they do serve a purpose to protect other people from the wearer, which is perfect if a person is a “carrier” of the coronavirus.

There is a certain type of mask that has been analyzed and proven the least effective at protecting people from the virus: scarves. From reporters in Business Insider, Aria Bendix and Yuqing Liu stated,“…that a scarf reduced a person’s infection risk by only 44% after they shared a room with an infected person for 30 seconds. After 20 minutes of exposure, the scarf reduced infection risk by just 24%”. They had gathered this information from The Journal of Hospital Infection study which concluded that scarves offer the least protection from COVID-19.

All masks help keep people safe from being exposed to COVID-19, but certain masks make sure that the virus has a lower chance at infecting  them. The better the mask, the better chance of being COVID-free.  So choose your mask wisely.