WATCH: Study shows which masks are the least effective

CAPE TOWN –Researchers at the Duke University in the United States tested the effectiveness of various masks, using 14 different types of masks ranging from three-layer surgical masks to homemade cotton masks.

One of the authors of the study, Martin Fischer, said they tested how effective the masks were in reducing the number of respiratory droplets transmitted during speech.

They found that the fitted N95 was the most effective mask and that the cotton homemade masks also performed well.

Fischer said that neck fleeces which are often used by runners were the least effective and resulted in a higher number of respiratory droplets; and that bandanas also did not offer enough protection.

“We were extremely surprised to find that the number of particles measured with the fleece actually exceeded the number of particles measured without wearing any mask,” said Fischer.

“We want to emphasize that we really encourage people to wear masks, but we want them to wear masks that actually work,” he said.


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