Before we explore this critical topic, as this is a milestone post, let’s take a quick trip down Memory Lane:
[700th Post!] Pandemic Photo and Video O’ Day 71 (May 24, 2020)
[600th Post!] READING! “My Paper.li” For Friday, April 10th (April 10, 2020)
[500th Post!] Easter Celebration! Journal: Wednesday, April 19th (April 19, 2017)
[400th Post!] Meditation Monday: Second Week of Advent (December 6, 2016)
[300th Post!] – Lectionary Gospel – Pentecost Sunday (May 15, 2016)
[200th Post!] Lectionary Gospel – Solemnity of All Saints (November 1, 2015)
[100th Post!] A Gaggle of Google (April 1, 2015)
Much has been written in just the last week or so about both the value of wearing masks, aka “cloth face coverings” as well as the way they’ve become a politicized “symbol”
“Seven Reasons to Wear a Mask” – 1). Masks protect you, your family and your friends; 2). Masks slow the spread; 3). Masks save lives; 4). Masks can help businesses stay open; 5). Masks reduce your risks when traveling; 6). Masks protect essential workers; 7). Masks can help us move forward as a country.
Big news today in Ohio as our Governor Dewine, mandated that masks are to be worn in public in the seven counties with the high rate of COVID right now. Ugh – mine is one of them.
OK, so we all need to wear a mask when we leave our homes to go out into public – especially when we are with others indoors.
So what is the best kind to protect others (in case you’re infected and you don’t know it) as well as to gain for yourself some protection from others (in case they’re infected and they don’t know it!)
Below are a few recent articles with my summary of the key “takeaways” from each.
First, the dense, jargon-filled “source” study from which the articles take their conclusions:
From the abstract at the top of the study:
Loosely folded face masks and bandana-style coverings provide minimal stopping-capability for the smallest aerosolized respiratory droplets.
Well-fitted homemade masks with multiple layers of quilting fabric, and off-the-shelf cone style masks, proved to be the most effective in reducing droplet dispersal.
These masks were able to curtail the speed and range of the respiratory jets significantly, albeit with some leakage through the mask material and from small gaps along the edges.
- Masks should have at least three layers of fabric.
- The inner layer should be made of absorbent material, like cotton.
- The middle layer is designed to work like a barrier and should be made of a non-woven material like polypropylene.
- The outer layer should be made of a non-absorbent material like polyester or a polyester blend.
This NPR article (July 1st) has some quite valuable information in it, so I quote extensively here from it:
Researchers say a tight-weave 100% cotton is a good bet.
That’s because at the microscopic level, the natural fibers in cotton tend to have more three-dimensional structure than synthetic fibers, which are smoother…That 3D structure can create more roadblocks that can stop an incoming particle.
A good option: a mask made of two layers of a tight-weave fabric with a built-in pocket where you can place a filter…
The best bet for the material to slip in as a filter is polypropylene, which is derived from plastic, says Chu. “If you go to Walmart, you look for Oly-fun, which is the brand name of that fabric. It’s also called spunbond,” says Chu...
Chu says polypropylene is great as a physical filter but has another benefit: It holds an electrostatic charge. In other words, it uses the power of static electricity.
Think of the static cling that can happen when you rub two pieces of fabric together, says Chu. That’s basically what’s happening with this fabric: That “cling” effect traps incoming — and outgoing — droplets. “That’s what you want — the cling is what’s important,” Chu says.
Cui says a two-layer tight-weave cotton mask alone can filter out about 35% of small particles.
But adding a filter made out of two layers of charged polypropylene could boost that filtration efficiency by as much as another 35%, Cui says. You still want a cotton layer closest to your face, he says, because it’s a more comfortable material.
A mask’s ability to filter out particles depends on not just what it’s made out of but how well it seals to your face.
When it comes to cloth masks, those that cup tightly to your face are best, Cui says.
Masks with pleats or folds are also a good choice: The folds expand so that you have more air flowing through the fabric itself instead of leaking out through gaps at the sides of the mask.
Masks with a flat front design are less effective, he says.
There’s more to the article, which again I highly recommend!
I’ve returned to working on Saturdays at a local winery where I need to wear a mask nearly constantly for four or five hours.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
+ My face is wide, so masks with looped, elastic ear-bands aren’t good for me as they pull my ears forward and slip off.
+ I’ve tried ones with multiple tie-strings. I have a hard time tying these tight enough to keep the mask close enough to my face.
+ I have a neck gaiter (which I featured in a Pandemic Photo O’ Day). It does form a tight seal (only if I double it by folding it in upon itself) and there aren’t any ear-bands/loops or strings to tie. But, it does slip off my nose and I find myself pulling it up – if I do this with non-sanitized hands, I’m defeating the protection of the mask!
So, especially before I return to the classroom next month, I have to do some mask shopping to find one which blends self/other protection with comfort (especially for my ears) and a tight seal w/o slippage.
Here’s some articles to check out for reviews and for places to purchase masks:
From Wired (June 25th) – “15 Best Cotton Face Masks We Like to Wear”
From NY Magazine (June 16th) – “We Tested 35 Fabric Face Masks”
From USA Today (June 29th) – “We Tested Popular Face Masks – These are the 10 Best”
The mask itself, made out of multi-layered cotton allows for a filter to be inserted. The straps only require one place to tie (as the “string” goes over the head) and they avoid the ears all together. I found this video review which further sold me on their effectiveness:
I hope you’ve found this lengthy (and “milestone”) post to be helpful as you wear your mask in public.
One final, helpful thing, from the CDC, if you’re a gentleman with facial hair (which I do not have and cannot seem to grow):