How Much Do Cloth Masks Protect You From Getting the Coronavirus?

published on July 9, 2020

I came across this video recently thatshows a person sneezing in slow motionother than thinking that's disgusting Ithought what if this person was infectedwith SARS Co v2 it could be in all ofthose droplets and these droplets weretraveling more than 20 feet from the

Person's mouth the CDC is now telling usthat cloth masks might cut down on virustransmission but that wasn't theoriginal messageat first we were told not to wear masksthis wasn't making any sense so I

Reached out to some experts one of thoseexperts was dr Reina McIntyre drMcIntyre is professor of globalbiosecurity and she studies emerginginfectious diseases like koban 19 so themessaging saying that you know do not

Wear a mask in the public it won'tprotect you it's actually a distortedmessage that it does not reflect theimage the evidence and that's why we'reseeing confusion now because people allover having to backpedal

And frantically kind of change theirposition to be more aligned with theevidence the message changed for acouple reasons first we're getting moreevidence that people can actually spreadthe virus without showing symptoms

Second the CDC didn't want peoplehoarding masks and keeping them awayfrom health care workers so while I wasseeing that the CDC's messaging changedI was also seeing this debate about howTsarskoe v2 which is the virus that

Causes Cove in nineteen Reds some peoplewere saying that the virus mostlyspreads via these large droplets thatwill come at the mouth when you'retalking or coughing and usually landwithin six feet of you which is where

That whole six feet apart rule comesfrom other people were saying it'sairborne meaning this virus hangs out inthe air and can travel a lot more thanthat six feet like in the video that Ishowed you at the top of the episode it

Seemed like there were just these twovery distinct options but dr McIntyreset me straightthe idea of respiratory viruses beingtransmitted by droplet versus airborneis a completely artificial paradigm that

Is a bit like believing the earth isflat so it's a complete nonsense to sayjust tell people to stand you know threefeet or six feet away from other peopleand that this distinction of airborneversus drop

Is an artificial distinction based onextremely ancient antiquated researchedanother expert I called up had somethingsimilar to say dr Donald Milton is anenvironmental health professor whostudies airborne infections there's no

Bright line is on this side it's largedroplets and on that it's respiratorydroplets in this side so one of thethings I've been thinking about it I'veseen people starting to use this termand I'm beginning to find it appealing

Called micro droplets get the idea thatokay there's large droplets and thenthere's micro droplets and you knowthere's a gradient I think it helped mehelp people understand that there's agradient it's not that there's air

Assault and droplets and they're twodifferent thingsthere's droplets and then there'ssmaller droplets I asked dr Milton howfar apart we should actually be standingfrom each other and he said there's no

Magic number six V is better than beingup close but the further the better notthat you're perfectly safe at seven feetand totally at risk at five feet but itgets better the farther away you are sonow when I have a better idea of how

This virus can spread I want to know howmuch a cloth mask might actually helpfirst here's how one works cloth masksare made of intertwined fibers Sarris CoV 2 is really small too small to betrapped by most fabrics that you'd find

Around your home fortunately it oftentravels and droplets a lot bigger thanthat and cloth masks could help withthose while some small drops might stillget through a cloth mask will help lockthe larger ones from breaching our

Mouths and leaving our mouths at thispoint there's no really big controlledstudy that looks at cloth masks but whatsmaller studies have shown for the mostpart is that clock masks are better thanwearing nothing and what they're really

Doing is stopping those larger dropletsif you're planning to buy or make acloth mask the CDC is recommending twolayers of 100% cotton fabric that'stightly woven think bedsheets with areally high thread count as I was doing

Research there were a couple of studiesin particular that stood up in 2013there was a study that tested a virusthat was about the size of Tsarskoe v2against a bunch of different materialsthey looked at things like 100

Cotton t-shirts pillowcases silk evenvacuum cleaner bags all day better thanif nothing were used antimicrobialpillowcases actually blocked around 68%of the virus but the vacuum cleaner bagsdid even better and blocked around 85% a

More recent study which I should mentionhas not undergone any sort of rigorouspeer review looked at people's homemademasks they found that two layers of highquality heavy weight quilters cottonwith a thread count of 180 or more did

The best that's stopped about 79 percentof the particles from going through andthose particles were a little bit biggerthan the Tsarskoe b2 virus but probablyabout the size of the droplets thatmight travel in and double layered masks

Did better than single layered masks ifyou want to learn more about either ofthese studies there are links in thevideo description another scientist Icalled up was dr Shan Solan who's anexpert in global health and she also

Emphasized the importance of layers useyou know multiple layers if you couldonly have bandanas use two of those ifyou only have a scarf you know wrap itaround your face a couple times ifyou're using a t-shirt use two layers of

It again the cloth mask for the generalpublic is really to keep like big globsof stuff away and if your socialdistancing you should be outside theglob radius anywaygood rule of thumb is once you choose a

Material hold it up to a light if a lotof light shines through if you can evensee these fibers here you shouldprobably choose a different material andmake sure that that cloth mask that youeither make or buy is really tight to

Your face any sort of space is justgoing to allow more droplets through soagain cloth masks seem to help overalland they help with those bigger dropletsbut what if someone needs a lot moreprotection than that like one of our

Frontline healthcare workers that'swhere n 95 s in surgical masks come in n95 s have multiple layers of materialand block ninety-five percent of smallparticles some even have a layer withmetal ions that will bind to certain

Viruses like influenza but to workcorrectly an n95 mask needs to be supertightly sealed to your face these thingsare expertly fitted so they're so tightthat they're even hard to breathethrough surgical masks also block

Viruses but are not as effective as ann95 partly because they don't have thattight seal and not that you combine a 95or a surgical mask right now but if youare like me and not a frontlinehealthcare worker you shouldn't even be

Trying it drives me wild now when I'm inthe streets and I see people wearing a1995 mask incorrectly and enough fromhealth workers in terms of efficacy ofcourse n95 better than surgical masksbetter than clock masks that when you

Set that against what your actual riskneeds are by population a clock mask isperfectly fine for the general public soI feel like it's important for me tomention that although most scientistsseem on board with cloth masks there are

Still some concerns that are circulatingdr milton brought one of them to myattention so you have people wearingmasks and they think oh so now i can goup get close to my buddy and play pokerfor hours with them right well that's

Not such a good idea right so there'sthis worry that okay we're gonna givepeople a false sense of security bytelling them okay we're a mess so ifyou're going to wear a cloth mask besmart about it

Part of being smart about it meansknowing how to put it on and take it offhere's my maskit has your loops on the ends here andso what you want to make sure to do isnever touch the outside of the mask to

Your facebecause that would defeat the purpose ofwearing a mask I mean this one's cleanso you just like put it over your facehere and then put the ear loops on hereand you can adjust it there link down

Here if you need to push it up and thenleave alone do your thing and whenyou're taking it off again like by theear loops and very carefully move itaway from your face and so I store themlike this way dirty side up and so I can

You know keep putting the same mask onan office I'm going in and out a coupletimes a day and also just make sure thatyour masks are dry because when they'rewet they're not quite as effective Iwashed my masks every night and dry them

So that they're dry for the next morningI like tothink of it as it's kind of a triad soyou've got social distancinghand-washing and masks where you needall these three things together because

You can't always hand wash your handsare crusty in touch with face that's nogood so the mask you know kind ofprotects you against your own dirtyhands and the social distancing to themask can help the one to that a little

Bit if you take a direct sneeze to theface it'll help you and all these thingsare protecting you if you don't have amask social distancing hand-washing canhelp you some so that's why if you doall three of those things together

That's the most powerful triadprotection in conclusion if you decideto make a mask follow CDC guidelinesmake the best one possible with thisstuff you have use proper technique toput it on and take it off and wash it

Every night continue to wash your handsdon't touch your face social distanceand self quarantine if you can stay safeeveryone

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