How many layers is your mask?

I’ve been busy in the operating rooms as elective surgeries have resumed, but I wanted to share a powerful image looking at droplet spread at 1,000 frames per second:

Implications for covid spread via droplets: the type of mask you wear is important to minimize droplets and infectious spread of coronavirus.

Researchers from Australia studied healthy volunteers speaking and sneezing with various types of masks. Their camera work shows fantastic results: masks reduce droplet spread, and it varies based on the mask type.

A surgical mask was the best among all the tested scenarios in preventing droplet spread from any respiratory emission… However, … in case of shortages of surgical masks, a cloth face covering with at least two layers is preferable to a single-layer one

Bahl et al. Face coverings and mask to minimise droplet dispersion and aerosolisation: a video case study. Thorax 2020.

This is one of the more impressive camera shots I’ve found, and it shows the value of face coverings during a pandemic.

Stay safe everyone! I look forward to writing an article on “social bubbles” next.

Reference: Bahl, Prateek, et al. “Face coverings and mask to minimise droplet dispersion and aerosolisation: a video case study.” Thorax (2020).

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The information provided in this post in intended for general education. It is not medical advice. While I make every effort to provide the most up-to-date information, please note that new data is continuously becoming available and may change the conclusions I present here.

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