Which face masks are most effective at preventing COVID-19?

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BOCA RATON, Fla. (WFLA/NBC) – Health officials continue to stress the need to wear face masks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

A new study from Florida Atlantic University is shedding light on which types are most effective for containing the virus.

Researchers used a laser to detect droplets as they were coughed and sneezed out of a mannequin head.

The results showed loosely folded face masks and bandana-style coverings had little to no effect on stopping stopping the droplets.

But well-fitted homemade masks with multiple layers of quilting fabrics and off-the-shelf cone-style masks were the most effective.

  • Droplets from an uncovered cough were able to travel more than 8 feet.
  • Droplets from a bandana-covered cough traveled 3 feet.
  • With a folded cotton handkerchief, droplets traveled 1 foot, 3 inches.
  • And with the cone-style masks, they traveled about 8 inches.
  • Stitched-quilting fabric masks were the most effective with droplets traveling 2.5 inches.

The scientists said the mannequins projected droplets much farther than when they didn’t have a mask on.

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