CLOTH masks can prevent the spread of COVID-19 by blocking up to 99 per cent of infectious particles, according to scientists who analysed a century of mask studies.
Canadian researchers report that cloth masks, particularly those with several layers of cotton, block viruses carried via microscopic particles in the air.
Cloth layers reduce infectious particles, emitted by the wearer through coughs and sneezes, from travelling through the air and settling on surfaces, they say.
Although no direct evidence indicates cloth masks reduce transmission of the virus itself, ‘convincing’ evidence suggests they reduce contamination of air and surfaces.
Some combinations of cloth, such as cotton-flannel, block more than 90 per cent of particles, they report, while a three-layer mask can reduced airborne transmission of microorganisms and surface contamination by up to 99 per cent.
While the researchers don’t guarantee cotton masks will prevent the wearer from becoming infected by SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the new report helps clarify their efficiency when it comes to blocking infectious particles.
While cloth does not stop the virus itself, it does block particles generated by speaking, eating, coughing, and sneezing, which carry the virus.