Study: Neck gaiters are not effective, counterproductive as face coverings
A new study found that wearing neck gaiters may spread COVID-19 more than wearing no mask at all.
Duke University researchers tested the effectiveness of 14 different face coverings by shining iridescent light from a laser through slits in a dark box. A person spoke one phrase repeatedly into the box to create droplets.
A cellphone camera was used to record the droplets, then counted the droplets that were let through the different masks.
Scientists found N95 surgical masks are most effective, letting out very few, if any droplets. They say standard medical masks also work well.
But researchers found the neck gaiters do more harm than good because of the size of droplets they let through.
“This is actually counterproductive because the little particles, that get generated from big particles – they tend to hang around longer in the air. They can get carried away easier in the air,” says Professor Martin Fischer.
Dr. Aaron Glatt, of Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital, says vented masks are also problematic because the vents allow droplets to escape in the air. He says cloth masks are best.
“I would certainly recommend and have been recommending that people wear cloth mask, preferably a three-ply cloth mask, if they don't have access to a three-ply surgical mask,” says Dr. Glatt.
Experts say there now needs to be more information available to the public about how to correctly wear a mask, and how to clean and store them.