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Your face covering may be doing more harm than good

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Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 1:10 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Experts have said time and time again there’s no doubt that wearing a face mask is one of the best ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

But experts at Duke University said some popular face coverings may not be as effective as you think.

Dr. Warren Warren, a physicist at Duke University, said masking is personal for him because he wants to help protect his 90-year-old mother-in-law from getting COVID-19.

But he said not all masks are created equal, and some may be doing more harm than good.

Using a box, a laser, a lens, and a cell phone camera, physicists at Duke University conducted a proof-of-concept study, proving once again, that masks help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“I think it is important that people recognize, yeah there’s politics in a lot of things that we deal with in life at this point, but the recommendation that people are wearing masks is not politics. It’s grounded in good science,” Dr. Warren said.

The study resulted from a need to test the effectiveness of free face masks, which were being handed out to under-severed populations in the Greater Durham Area.

“We were surprised we were able to put together a system that would be very cheap and very easy to duplicate so it could be used say at the community level,” Dr. Warren said.

Researchers say N95 masks without valves, those used mainly by medical professionals, worked best.

Surgical masks, and homemade cotton face coverings, also performed well.

But researchers said bandanas, scarves, and neck fleeces don’t do much good.

“More droplets came out than if you were wearing nothing at all, and the reason is that large droplets get broken up into small droplets when you do that, and small droplets travel farther than large droplets. So, they’re much more dangerous. People who are doing this in good faith and trying to be good neighbors are actually not achieving what they want to do if that’s what they’re wearing,” Dr. Warren explained.

He added that the way you wear a mask can make all the difference.

He said you must wear a face covering over your nose and mouth for it to be most effective.

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.

Original Story: https://www.wbrc.com/2020/08/10/your-face-covering-may-be-doing-more-harm-than-good/

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