For COVID-19 safety, sporting a used masks could possibly be worse than no masks: Study

Wearing a used masks could possibly be extra harmful than not sporting one in any respect on the subject of averting COVID-19, a brand new examine has discovered.

A brand new three-layer surgical masks is 65 % environment friendly in filtering particles within the air — however when used, that quantity drops to 25 %, based on the examine printed Tuesday within the Physics of Fluids.

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and California Baptist University say that masks decelerate airflow, making folks extra inclined to inhaling particles — and a unclean face masks can’t successfully filter out the tiniest of droplets.

“It is pure to suppose that sporting a masks, regardless of new or outdated, ought to at all times be higher than nothing,” stated creator Jinxiang Xi.

“Our outcomes present that this perception is simply true for particles bigger than 5 micrometers, however not for nice particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers.”

To attain their findings, researchers used a pc mannequin of an individual sporting a pleated three-layer surgical masks to trace how the face masking affected airflow and the way particles handed by way of. They additionally checked out how the tiny droplets settled onto the face, within the airway and the place they land within the nostril, pharynx or deep lung.

They discovered that sporting a masks “considerably slows down” airflow, decreasing a masks’s efficacy and making an individual extra inclined to inhaling aerosols into the nostril — the place SARS-CoV-2 likes to lurk.

“In this examine, we discovered that the protecting efficacy of a masks for the nasal airway decreases at decrease inhalation circulation charges,” the examine stated.

The pleats of a face masks additionally considerably have an effect on airflow patterns and their efficacy adjustments with extra use, the researchers discovered. The staff plans to review how masks shapes have an effect on safety from COVID-19.

“We hope public well being authorities strengthen the present preventative measures to curb COVID-19 transmission, like selecting a simpler masks, sporting it correctly for the best safety, and keep away from utilizing an excessively used or expired surgical masks,” stated Xi.

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