Your Health: Putting face masks to the test – WILX

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – The United States government is distributing 400 million N-95 masks for free to reduce the spread of the omicron variant.

As of March 4, 2022, there are officially 5,880 confirmed cases of the omicron variant in Michigan.

Cloth, surgical, K-N-95 — there are a number of different kinds of masks available to provide protection against COVID, but their effectiveness has been debated over the course of the pandemic. Do they really work? A new study put different masks to the test to find out.

“What we found is that the aerosols and droplets are propagating at a shorter distance, around four feet and change,” said Kareem Ahmed, a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor University of Central Florida.

Researchers at the University of Central Florida had participants recite a phrase and simulate a cough for fight minutes without a face covering, with a cloth face covering, with a three-layered disposable surgical mask and with a K-N-95 mask. Then they measured how far particles traveled. Without a mask, the spread was four feet. With a cloth mask, it was two feet.

“We did not expect the cloth mask to underperform the way it underperformed, by getting about two feet of distance,” Ahmed said.

However, other masks performed better.

“A disposable three-layer surgical blue like mask, that is reduced to about half a foot,” Ahmed said.

While particles and aerosols were undetectable in 95-variant masks, the researchers believe the study can help people determine their comfort levels.

“If you’re wearing a N-95, you could feel safer. If the person in front of you is wearing a cloth mask, then you want to keep your distance,” Ahmed said.

More: Health stories

Copyright 2022 WILX. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to our News 10 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning.

Leave a Reply