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These are the best non-medical face masks, study finds

A mannequin wears a face mask at the Citadel Outlets in Commerce, Calif., Thursday, July 2, 2020. California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday urged Californians to turn to their "better angels" and use common sense over the holiday weekend by wearing a mask and skipping traditional gatherings with family and friends. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A mannequin wears a face mask at the Citadel Outlets in Commerce, Calif., Thursday, July 2, 2020. California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday urged Californians to turn to their "better angels" and use common sense over the holiday weekend by wearing a mask and skipping traditional gatherings with family and friends. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

BOCA RATON, Florida – Have you ever wondered which face mask is the best at protecting you from the coronavirus? From cotton-layered masks to bandannas, researchers have your answer.

A team of scientists at Florida Atlantic University published a study which compared different types of non-medical face masks offering the best protection, CNN reported.

Lead by researcher Siddhartha Verma, a team studied four types of masks: a bandanna, a cone-style mask used at pharmacies, a handkerchief and a mask made from a t-shirt. Using a mannequin, they determined how well face masks block droplets as they exit the mouth.

CNN reported that the team also used a laser to detect the droplets as the mannequin sneezed and coughed to map their path.

With a folded cotton handkerchief, droplets traveled 1 foot, 3 inches
With a folded cotton handkerchief, droplets traveled 1 foot, 3 inches (Florida Atlantic University/CNN)

And the study results are in: the t-shirt and the handkerchief masks are more effective than the bandanna, reducing droplets significantly.

“If you take a look at the fabric, the individual threads are relatively thick, and all of it is very tightly woven together,” Verma said in the study. “That’s why it was able to stop the droplets from spreading out too far.”

According to the study, researchers also found that bandanna-style coverings and other loose-fitting masks are less effective, filtering out up to 50% of droplets from the nose and mouth.

The study also showed that droplets traveled at an average of eight feet without a mask. According to the CNN report, Verma said the masks are not a substitute for social distancing.


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