All masks are not created equal.
On Aug. 6, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that certain masks are not as effective as others.
The University System of Georgia and CDC have partnered in requiring all schools providing face-to-face curriculum to wear masks on-campus for safety purposes.
The four basic masks consist of surgical, cloth, KN95, and masks with vents or an exhalation valve.
Masks with an exhalation valve or vent are not recommended by the CDC.
According to the CDC, “Masks with one-way valves or vents allow exhaled air to be expelled out through holes in the material. This can allow exhaled respiratory droplets to reach others and potentially spread the COVID-19 virus.”
Any mask with a filter is more efficient for protecting the wearer and keeping the wearer from spreading the virus.
“I had no clue about this,” said Randolph Parker, a junior majoring in human communication. “I thought the ventilation masks were better actually. I don’t think other people know or truly care about the mask difference. Most people feel like putting a mask on is enough regardless of the small differences.”
The Director of the Campus Recreation center, Shawn Phippen says the reason why the CDC and the World Health Organization say they want social distancing in place and prefer people to where masks is because of the droplet spread.
“If you’re talking about the spread of masks, you’ll see a number of people do this,” said Phippen. ”You take a match and you put it in front of you and you try to blow it out. This is based on the theory of the droplet spread. The theory is that the droplet spread is the issue, so the issue is going to come down to how effective the mask is at allowing droplets to move freely from the mouth over a distance.”
According to Hartford Healthcare, “As you inhale, the incoming air is filtered. As you exhale, the outgoing mixture of carbon dioxide, oxygen, water vapor and, yes, possibly COVID-19 viral particles releases unfiltered. The San Francisco Department of Public Health actually tweeted a warning that these masks “may actually propel your germs further.”
The objective of wearing a mask is to provide a barrier that keeps respiratory droplets from reaching others. This helps conduct control of the virus and makes normal activity such as attending school, going to work and shopping for groceries more efficient.
The proper term used for these masks would be source control. When a person wearing the mask coughs, speaks or sneezes, the respiratory droplets are contained.
CDC recommends that people wear masks that cover both the nose and mouth. The masks should not be pulled down or laying against the chin or neck area. The masks must fit snug against the face, but still be breathable. They are to be worn correctly for maximum source control.
Written by Kayla Pool. Photo courtesy of Central Luzon Doctors’ Hospital.