How Face Masks Work and Which Types Offer the Best Covid-19 Protection

Abstracts:Face masks are a simple way to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus through talking, coughing or sneezing, scientists and public-health specialists say. But they need to be worn properly. While some types of masks are more effecti...

Face masks are a simple way to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus through talking, coughing or sneezing, scientists and public-health specialists say. But they need to be worn properly.
 
While some types of masks are more effective than others, public-health officials say any face covering—even a bandanna—is better than nothing.
 
Here’s how different types of masks stack up, and how they are meant to be used.
 
Cut from different cloth
Common masks fall into three categories: cloth masks or coverings like gaiters, intended to prevent an infected person from spreading the virus by catching large droplets; surgical masks, with a more sophisticated design also meant to prevent the wearer from spreading diseases; and N95 masks, which protect the wearer as well, and fit tightly to the face.

- Typically homemade
 
- Style and materials vary widely
 
- Prevents wearer from spreading disease
 
- Work in herd-immunity: the more wear masks,
 
the more effective they are
 
- Wash after use
 
Surgical
 
- Loose fit
 
- Prevents wearer from spreading disease
 
- Dispose after use
 
- Made from a material called polypropylene
 
N95
 
- Tight fit, must be fit tested
 
- Protects wearer if fitted properly
 
- Limited quantity

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