The ideal mask traps airway droplets released during coughing or sneezing – the primary route of
human coronavirus transmission – along with the aerosol released during speaking or breathing.
Over the past few months, researchers have been working to assess which mask is most effective
in stopping the spread of coronavirus. They compiled a list that evaluated which masks provide
the best protection and which provide the least protection.
Researchers, which was done in April, showed that surgical masks reduce the spread of
coronaviruses: both airway droplets and smaller aerosols. Surgical masks are three times more
effective at blocking virus-containing aerosols than hand-made face masks.
What concerning hand-made face masks the researchers found that the combination of cotton
and chiffon provides the best protection, followed by a combination of cotton and flannel,
combinations of cotton and silk, and a combination of four layers of natural silk.
Wrapping a scarf or covering your nose and mouth with a cotton shirt can partially stop the
spread of coronavirus, but it is not very effective. Still, it’s better than nothing.
UK researchers have found that a single layer of thin cotton tissue is one of the least effective
ways to block small and large coronavirus particles.