Wear A Mask - it's airborne!
There were lies about masks and respirators from the start of the pandemic. Ignore then, all masks work, but they vary from 10% protective up to 99.9%.
- If you are in a country that has not yet eliminated COVID-19, wear a mask when mixing with others in enclosed spaces, whether vaccinated or not.
- Thin masks like the stretchy spandex (lycra) one’s offer (say) 10% protection to the wearer.
- If you can afford N95, FFP2, KF94 respirators then consider having those instead of cloth masks as that is the best protection you can get.
- If you’re wearing a surgical-style mask that you bought from the supermarket or a corner store, mask brace that goes over that.
- If you can’t afford N95 grade respirators and want to stick with cloth, then use a three or more layer one, ensure the nose with is working well, and there are no edge leaks. Understand that you may well only have 40-60% protection from these.
If you cannot wear a mask or cloth face covering stay at home and get your food/groceries delivered.
N95, FFP2, KF94, KN95 and CN95
If you can afford it, get N95/KF94 grade masks (that are not cloth or washable) for use when mixing with other in public. Citizen Scientist, Aaron Collins, reviews masks for filtration effectiveness and talks about KF94 masks quite a bit, but there are many standards now.
Make your own high-spec mask
Can’t afford N95 grade masks but want that protection? You’re mostly out of luck. Regular fabrics:
- Don’t perform well at all for important particle sizes under 1 micron
- In single layer construction don’t provide enough filtration to be useful
- In multi layer construction may provide sufficient filtration, but breathability will be greatly reduced causing the fabric to collapse in with each breath taken.
Spunbond polypropylene fabric
Your mask should be made from spunbond polypropylene (SBPP) and be a good fit with nose wire. The more of the spunbond polypropylene the better - four layers of 80 GSM SBPP can get you 87% on its own (no cotton). One six-layer design reached 98% protection. That was for 100nm particle size, 28.3 liters per minute flow rate, but can’t be washed without lowering filtration, sadly.
Filtration results from a number of studies on SBPP:
Here are quick to sew patterns specifically for high-filtration washable SBPP masks
High thread count cotton masks
Some studies in 2020 picked this as a material to use in mask making. Superficially, this material offers high protection, but it comes with a high price - the fabric pulls onto your nostrils and lips as you breathe in. That is because breathability is more of a problem for high TPI cotton than for other fabrics. High thread count cotton is a massive mistake for pandemic mask construction, in our opinion.
We have known since the start that masks would help slow or stop the pandemic:
From the fall of 2020 onwards, Aaron Collins with the equipment he had at his home tests high-filtration masks he’s acquired for filtration and leakage. One of the stars of “masks for all” in the pandemic.
Articles in reverse chronological order:
- Aug 19, 2021; Study supports widespread use of better masks to curb COVID-19 indoors
- Aug 6 2021; “Wearing a mask is not a political statement”
- July 22, 2021; Study reveals mask rule turned Melbourne’s deadly second wave ‘overnight’ Studu itself.
- July 21, 2021; Scott et al: The introduction of a mandatory mask policy was associated with significantly reduced COVID-19 cases in a major metropolitan city
- June 29, 2021; BBC: Covid: Masks upgrade cuts infection risk
- June 5, 2021; Cheng et al: Face masks effectively limit the probability of SARS-CoV-2 transmission
- May, 2021: Cheng, Ma2, Witt, Rapp, Wild, Andreae, Pöschl, and Su: Face masks effectively limit the probability of SARS-CoV-2 transmission
- Apr, 2021;The Impact of Universal Mask Use on SARS-COV-2 in Victoria, Australia on the Epidemic Trajectory of COVID-19
- March 5, 2021; The Virus Spread Where Restaurants Reopened or Mask Mandates Were Absent
- Feb, 2021: Effectiveness of Mask Wearing to Control Community Spread of SARS-CoV-2 - Brooks & Butler
- January 29, 2021; New York Times & Colorado State Mask Study: How to Choose the Best Cloth Face Mask for You
- January 28, 2021; Buzzfeed: What Is Double-Masking? Here’s How It Can Keep You Safer From The Coronavirus
- January 28, 2021; Salon e-Zine: How high-filtration masks — like the KN95, N95 and KN94 — differ
- January 28, 2021; CBC: Why you might want to start wearing better masks — even outdoors
- January 27, 2021; Slate e-Zine: Do You Really Need Two Masks Now?
- January 26, 2021; Jeremy Howard et al: An evidence review of face masks against COVID-19
- Dec, 2020: University of Wisconsin “fitter” study (see fitters)
- December 2020; William G. Lindsley: Efficacy of face masks, neck gaiters and face shields for reducing the expulsion of simulated cough-generated aerosols
- Nov, 2020: Virginia Tech: Cloth face coverings help protect both wearers and those nearby - Pan, Harb, Leng & Marr.
- August 26, 2020; Wei Lyu and George L. Wehby study: The Forgotten Science Behind Face Masks
- August, 2020; Webmd article: Community Use Of Face Masks And COVID-19: Evidence From A Natural Experiment Of State Mandates In The US
- Aug, 2020: Max-Planck Institute (Germany): Aerosol filtration efficiency of household materials for homemade face masks: Influence of material properties, particle size, particle electrical charge, face velocity, and leaks - Drewnick et al.
- Masks do not create a false sense of security, See Twitter thread by Rob Shirkey
- Active since March 2020; Masks4all.co portal has been pushing the “masks for all” message. And a discussion forum on reddit for the same
- Since March 2020; damerousky.cz: Citizen made portal for making masks, started in the Czech Republic (Europe) and now an international multi-language effort
- DiyMasks.ie - more citizen made mask choices and links
- October 15, 2020; Goddard’s Journal video: second review of mask studies over the years and that they work
- May, 2020: University of Chicago and Argonne National Labs (USA): Aerosol Filtration Efficiency of Common Fabrics Used in Respiratory Cloth Masks - Konda et al.
- March 25, 2020; Goddard’s Journal video: first review of mask studies over the years and that they work
Wikipedia Maintains a long page on mask use in the pandemic here
Goddard’s Journal - listing the “masks work” studies
Goddard’s Journal was among the very first to gather the studies that proved masks work. The author did work that many governments did not, disproving the lies told about masks.
Goddard’s first video - March 2020
Timings from start of video:
- @ 1:17 Jefferson et al (2011) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21735402 Of the nine case-control studies cited in Goddard's quotation of Jefferson, seven involved healthcare workers and two involved mask wearing by uninfected members of the public, Wu et al (2004) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3322931 and Lau et al (2004) @ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15200846
- @ 2:01 Jefferson et al (2008) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18042961
- @ 2:29 MacIntyre (2015) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25858901
- @ 4:09 Hui & Chan (2010) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20674795 and Breban et al (2013) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23831141
- @ 4:21 van Doremalen et al https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2004973 and Ong et al (2020) https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2762692
- @ 5:26 Tracht et al (2010) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2818714
- @ 6:58 Cui et al (2019) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31499643/.
- @ 8:22 Tracht et al (2012) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3307882
- @ 9:55 Aiello et al (2012) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22295066
- @ 10:36 Suess et al (2012) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22280120
- @ 11:04 Cowling et al (2009) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19652172
- @ 11:32 Larson et al (2010) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20297744
- @ 12:03 Simmerman et al (2011) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21651736
- @ 12:57 Aiello et al (2012) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3266257
- @ 14:11 MacIntyre (2009) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2662657
- @ 15:45 Foo et al (2006) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17026695
- @ 17:19 DIY facemask https://youtu.be/Pb59qBUNg1o (video)
- @ 18:34 DIY facemask https://youtu.be/Bs-E_R5WWsY (video)
Goddard’s second video - October 2020
This was a follow up to the first, as noted at the start of the video. Timings from start of video:
- @00:30 Wang et al (2020) https://gh.bmj.com/content/5/5/e002794
- @ 01:42 Chan et al (2020) https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/71/16/2139/5848814
- @ 05:28 Chu et al (2020) https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31142-9/fulltext
- @ 10:07 Leung et al (2020) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0843-2
- @ 12:03 NHK program on airborne transmission https://youtu.be/vBvFkQizTT4
- @ 12:42 Anfinrud et al (2020) https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2007800
- @ 14:02 Fears et al (2020) https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/9/20-1806_article
- @ 14:33 Lednicky et al (2020) https://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(20)30739-6/fulltext
- @ 14:55 Bourouiba (2020) https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2763852
- @ 15:05 Verma et al (2020) https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/5.0016018
- @ 16:46 Fischer et al (2020) https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/36/eabd3083
- @ 19:14 N95 mask-valve leakage. Original: Face Shield or Face Mask to Stop the Spread of COVID-19? by Florida Atlantic University (video)
- @ 20:33 Anti-mask misinformation by retired doctor (no link to the original garbage) See also Politfact debunking (video)
- @ 20:42 That misinformation quickly debunked by Prof Jimenez "Vapor goes thru mask, then condenses" (tweet)
- @ 20:49 Swiss-cheese protection model. Original: RETURN TO WORK AMID COVID-19: A Cleveland Clinic Guide
Anti Masker groups are motivated by politics, hatred of your group/country, bad science, their own bad breath and more. They link to things they claim can prove their case. Their bogus talking points:
- “just search for it, I don’t have to give you links to studies”
- “masks starve your oxygen” - they do not
- “Country X or state Y doesn’t have masks, and they’re better than your country”. Ask them what they think about Taiwan or South Korea who’ve performed among the best (with masks), and they get all racist or suggest it is faked.
Raina MacIntyre’s work
Study ‘MacIntyre et al, 2015’, figures quite a lot as an anti-masker “truth”. Goddard’s Journal went into this study above. Meanwhile, Raina C MacIntyre is disgusted with mis-representation by anti-masker groups. She has published more in the last eighteen months to further indicate her science that masks actually work and that we should wear them:
- June 24, 2020; Prof Raina MacIntyre in a Guardian article: "People are still kind of stuck in that mindset of hand sanitiser and washing your hands, when actually the message we need to be getting out there is it’s the air you breathe … and you should wear masks"
- May 12, 2021; Prof Raina MacIntyre in a TheConversation article: "in further evidence the droplet theory is false, we showed that even for infections believed to be spread by droplets, a N95 respirator protects better than a surgical mask. In fact airborne precautions are needed for most respiratory infections."
- January 21, 2021; Prof Raina MacIntyre in Croakey Health Media eZine: "The lack of experts on respiratory transmissible infection or aerosol science at the table meant that much of 2020 was spent on promotion of hygiene theatre, actively discouraging mask use and a resulting low awareness among the general public of the importance of ventilation and masks in reducing their personal risk."
- December 20, 2020; Prof Raina MacIntyre in the Sydney Morning Herald: “Mandating masks across greater Sydney will make a difference”
- December 17, 2020; Prof Raina MacIntyre in the Sydney Morning Herald: “Until we address airborne transmission, we fail to address masks and ventilation and keep peddling the myth that washing hands and wiping surfaces is enough. We need universal masking in closed public spaces”
- October 12, 2020; Prof Raina MacIntyre in the Sydney Morning Herald: “Mandating masks in public places would reduce the risk of transmission from asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic people, protect well people, and enable greater freedom of movement.”
- September 29, 2020; Prof Raina MacIntyre in BMJ Opinion: Cloth masks should be washed appropriately everyday.
- July 4, 2020, Prof Raina MacIntyre in the Sydney Morning Herald: “Face masks have not been recommended actively, although would likely help control the epidemic in Victoria. There is increasing evidence that spread of SARS-CoV-2 is as much due to the air we breathe as it is to what we touch or who coughs in our face. This, plus asymptomatic infection, is a reason why physical distancing and masks are a good idea.”
- June 27, 2020, Prof Raina MacIntyre in The Lancet: Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection for prevention of COVID-19
- April 21, 2021, The Impact of Universal Mask Use on SARS-COV-2 in Victoria, Australia on the Epidemic Trajectory of COVID-19