Which face masks provide best protection

Bandanas and loosely folded masks still allow droplets to travel in the air, according to researchers at Florida Atlantic University.
4:02 | 07/01/20

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Transcript for Which face masks provide best protection
theme and turn to stunning visuals showing the importance of wearing that mask to help slow the spread of coronavirus and showing that the type of mask you choose can make a big difference. Eva pilgrim joins us now. Eva, I think I've been making the wrong choice on the face covering. Good morning to you. Oh, goodness, well, we all know that wearing a mask helps reduce the spread of the virus. But there are so many different kinds of masks. This morning, some answers about what are your best options. With covid cases climbing, mandatory mask orders are growing. But now new research concluding not all face masks are created equal. We are basically looking at two main characteristics for the masks. The first was the type of fabric that was used and the second, the construction of the mask. Reporter: Researchers at Florida atlantic university put several different masks to the test. They looked at a bandanna style covering, loosely folded handkerchief, homemade two layered cotton mask and overthe counter cone style mask and used a laser to detect droplets as coughed and sneezed out of a mannequin. This shows how far they traveled with no covering. The green going about eight feet. The sing many layer bandanna better than nothing but showing the droplets still traveled pretty far. More than 3 1/2 feet. Even the ban Dan father fabric will be able to stop the largest droplet sizes so if you use a better fabric it will be more effective. Reporter: The loosely folded mask performed better but the droplets still traveled more than a foot. The best performers, the over-the-counter mask shielding the droplets up to eight inches of spray and taking the top spot, the homemade two layered quilted cotton mask. Droplets only traveling 2 1/2 inches. Masks are not 100% effective. There's always some leakage from the sides. That's why it's important to use a combination of face masks and social distancing. Reporter: So there are two things you want to think about when you think of mask, one, the fit. You want to make sure it fits snug around this part of the face and, two, the fabric. I know this is not what you want to hear, T.J., but the thicker the fabric the better. If you can see the sun coming through your mask, that means droplets can get out as well. T.J. All right. No, I'm always listening to you, Eva, thank you so much. I'm also listening to Dr. Jennifer Ashton. Dr. Ashton, a lot of information there. Remark to believe see it play out like that what is your big takeaway? Exactly what Eva said, T.J. Listen, this is a really interesting field call aerosol science about the physics and chemistry of how particles move in different environments. That was incredibly interesting but, remember, that was simulated when you're out in the real world you have to take into account wind, temperature, humidity, movement, all of those variables and ph.d.s spend their lifetime working on this. As Eva said they're not all created equal. It's about fit and fabric but to be clear we are at a stage right now where anything is better than nothing. Okay, and, Dr. Ashton, I'm one of the bandanna guys. We saw in the experiment there they perform worse than all of them. Gave you some protection. Do I need to -- do we need to ditch the bandannas? Listen, that's not a CD recommendation yet but my son is right there with you with his bandanna. Looks great. It's better than nothing. We node to take baby steps with this. We're in unchartered territory. We're not used to this and, remember, the CDC at one point even recommended that health care workers could use a bandanna if they didn't have ppe so your choice but, remember, any covering is better than nothing. Okay. Dr. Ashton, you're right. They look great. It's a style decision. All right. Dr. Ashton, thank you so much.

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