BLACKSBURG, Va. – We’ve all heard it before: if you wear a mask, you can protect others from catching COVID-19.
Now, new research out of Virginia Tech really proves you can protect yourself from COVID-19 by wearing a mask.
“Masks work essentially the same way and offer very similar protection to the wearer,” said Dr. Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech.
Marr and her team studied 10 different types of homemade mask materials to see which is most effective at blocking airborne particles, including thin cotton, bandanas, pillowcases, microfiber cloth, surgical masks, coffee and HVAC filters and a vacuum bag.
They found that only certain materials blocked particles smaller than one micron.
“Only the vacuum bag, the microfiber cloth and the surgical mask filtered out or blocked more than half of those aerosols,” said Marr.
On the plus side, Marr said most airborne particles carrying around COVID-19 are going to be much bigger, so the other materials can block those larger particles out anywhere from 50% to 80%.
Researchers also found that masks protect others as well as the wearer almost equally.