Does the type of mask matter in the prevention of COVID-19?
COVID-19 Face masks Masks

Does the type of mask matter in the prevention of COVID-19?

Santhni Subramaniam
Santhni Subramaniam

In 10 seconds? The rapidly spreading and predominant SARS-CoV-2 delta variant has put the question of mask-wearing back in the forefront. Research suggests cloth and even surgical masks may offer poor personal protection, whereas N95-type respirators are a better choice.

Why do we need to increase our protection? The SARS-CoV-2 delta is often called a variant of concern (VOC) because it spreads about 50% faster than the earlier alpha variant. According to a South Korean study of 301 sailors, 90.4% of a navy ship's personnel got infected by the SARS-CoV-2 delta within 25 days of first exposure. As they were not immunized, the authors estimate that the same ratio of people would get infected with a virus in a non-vaccinated population. One of the limitations of the study was that it mentioned the sailors wearing masks but did not specify what kind.

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