As the coronavirus or COVID-19 continues to spread worldwide researchers claim that wearing the same face mask more than once can be more dangerous than wearing one at all. New research has looked at the efficiency of the three-layer surgical masks.
The scientists have discovered that when the masks are worn for the first time they filter out three-quarters of the particles that linger in the air. These particles are responsible for the transmission of infections. But if the same mask is worn for the second or third time they help only to filter out a quarter of the small droplets.
Facemasks During COVID-19
The Sun confirmed that the masks become more deformed with every wear. The study was conducted by the experts at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and California Baptist University. The co-author Dr. Jinxiang Xi, who is an associate professor of biomedical engineering at UMass Lowell, said: "It is natural to think that wearing a mask, no matter new or old, should always be better than nothing. Our results show that this belief is only true for particles larger than five micrometers, but not for fine particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers," as reported by the Daily Star.
Scientists stated that wearing a mask having less than 30 percent filtration efficiency can be worse than not wearing one at all. For the research, professors made a computer model of a patient wearing a surgical mask with pleats and tracked particles through the material.
They also researched the aerosols after they got through the layers looking at where they landed inside the nose or pharynx. Their modeling displayed that when people wear masks, it changes the airflow around the face. The team found that the air does not enter through the nose and mouth at the particular points but through the entire mask surface at low speeds.
Scientists found that a new mask worn for the first time can filter 65 percent of the particles but a used one only keeps out 25 percent. As per the research, this is because of how the pleats in the mask affect the airflow patterns, and when worn more than once it can change shape and decrease the efficiency.