Wearing a facemask as much as possible is one of the most important guidelines for fighting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. But there are certain situations when covering our faces is actually a bad idea. Many countries had imposed the wearing of facemasks in many situations for their citizens, and there’s no telling when the guideline will be abolished.
A new study published in Physics of Fluids reveals that a new three-layer surgical mask will become a lot less efficient if it’s used regularly. This doesn’t mean that we should not wear masks anymore, but only that it’s a great idea to change them as much as we can.
From 65 percent efficacy to 25 percent
Dropping to only 25 percent efficiency when it comes to filtering particles in the air is the huge difference caused by a mask used frequently. Masks slow down airflow, according to scientists from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and California Baptist University. Thus, people become more susceptible to breathing in particles. But with a dirty mask, the tiniest of droplets can’t be efficiently filtered out.
Author of the new study, Mr. Jinxiang Xi, admitted one simple fact:
It is natural to think that wearing a mask, no matter new or old, should always be better than nothing,
He also added:
Our results show that this belief is only true for particles larger than 5 micrometers, but not for fine particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers.
The researchers involved in the study had been using a computer model of a person wearing a pleated surgical mask of three layers for tracking how airflow is affected and how particles are passing through.
Jianxiang Xi also declared:
We hope public health authorities strengthen the current preventative measures to curb COVID-19 transmission, like choosing a more effective mask, wearing it properly for the highest protection, and avoid using an excessively used or expired surgical mask.
In the end, the other two basic guidelines for fighting the pandemic virus, besides wearing a mask, are to frequently wash our hands and avoid contact with other people as much as possible.