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Watch: Study proves face masks with valves are ineffective

Published Nov 13, 2020


CAPE TOWN - A study from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) produced a new flow visualisation that demonstrates the effective use of face masks illustrating how facemasks with valves may prove ineffective.

As the world awaits the final development of the Covid-19 vaccine, the use of face masks in public spaces has become a necessity in the fight against the virus helping prevent and reduce transmission.

Scientists continue studying ways in which to treat and contain the virus with many focusing on the use of face masks and materials best suited for an important job - to contain infectious particles and preventing further spread.

Face masks with valves have been flagged for months due to the possibility of escaping infectious particles but it appears that many continue wearing them, with Matthew Staymates, NIST engineer, aiming to create a visualisation showing exactly how ineffective these masks may be.

“I don’t wear a mask to protect myself," says Staymates. "I wear it to protect my neighbor, because I might be asymptomatic and spread the virus without even knowing it. But if I’m wearing a mask with a valve on it, I’m not helping.”

Face masks with valves are commonly advertised to have more ventilation and help with the ease of breathing with no filtered restrictions, and as these kinds of face masks have become popular, Staymates saying, “My hope is that this work will help inform a large audience that valves on a mask are not helpful as we fight this global pandemic together.”

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