Compared to a mask that is properly fitted, limited benefit in blocking viral spread is provided by wearing two masks – one on top of another, showed a simulation by a Japanese supercomputer.
This finding also partly negates a set of recent recommendations by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States which stated that two masks were better than one with respect to reducing the exposure of an individual to the novel coronavirus.
According to a study released on Thursday by research giant Riken and Kobe University, the flow of virus particles from people wearing different types and combinations of masks was modelled by scientists in this experiment using the Fugaku supercomputer to model the flow of virus particles from people wearing different types and combinations of masks, according to a study released on Thursday by research giant Riken and Kobe University.
The report of the simulation showed 85 per cent effectiveness in blocking particles was found for a single surgical-type mask that was made of non-woven material and when it was worn tightly around the nose and face. The effectiveness increased only to about 89 per cent when a polyurethane mask on top of it was added, according to the simulation.
There is build up of air resistance when one wears two non-woven masks which results in leakage around the edges which makes such double masks less effective.
“The performance of double masking simply does not add up,” wrote the researchers, led by Makoto Tsubokura.
The researcher noted that the best mask type in preventing and protecting against infection was the professional grade N95 masks. That was followed by non-woven masks, cloth masks, and lastly polyurethane types.
The Fugaku supercomputer had been previously used by the Riken research team on a previous occasion to create a simulated model of how humidity can affect viral contagion and the risks of getting infected inside trains, work spaces, and other similar environments.
With more data and research being gathered and analysed about the novel coronavirus as the pandemic worn on, scientists and researchers across the world have reached a wide consensus about the effectiveness of masks in controlling the spread of the infection from the virus which gets spread through the air.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)