Face masks and hand sanitizers are the two most important things since 2020. Although vaccines promise more robust protection against COVID-19, face masks are still believed to curb community spread. In some countries, people started adopting the double-masking routine due to the pandemic's deadly second wave.
Researchers from UC's College of Engineering and Applied Science demonstrated how loose-fitting masks could be inefficient in protecting us from airborne infections. The findings of the study were published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports .
"Many people do not realize that the fit of face masks can vary. There are different face shapes and different sizes of masks," said Rupak Banerjee, a professor in UC's Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.
The key findings from their assessment are,
The airflow rate through the gaps of loose-fitting masks contributed from 30% to 95% of aerosol transport.
The air leaks were around the nose most of the time.
The worst-fitting masks can reduce masking power and double the infection risk to the wearers and people around them.
Banerjee is also the editor of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering Journal of Medical Devices. He said that the team would have a special issue soon about pandemic-response medical devices, including face masks and face shields.
"We're still not sure how effective the vaccine is on the variants. So, it's a good idea to continue wearing masks in gatherings for now," he added.