Study: Masks Help Against COVID, Some Better Than Others

Study: Masks Help Against COVID, Some Better Than Others Study: Masks Help Against COVID, Some Better Than Others A machine makes respiratory masks in a family-owned medical equipment factory in north Miami, Florida on February 15, 2021. (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

By Eric Mack | Sunday, 22 August 2021 12:33 PM

A new study examining masks effectiveness in protecting against COVID-19 infection finds N95-style masks to be more effective than surgical masks or other cloth coverings, adding scientific backing to the argument masks do provide some level of protection.

The University of Waterloo study published July 21 found "standard surgical and three-ply cloth masks" only "filter at apparent efficiencies of only 12.4% and 9.8%," while KN95 and N95 masks have "substantially higher apparent filtration efficiencies (60% and 46% for N95 and KN95 masks, respectively).

The study, published by the journal Physics of Fluids, concluded N95 masks "therefore are still the recommended choice in mitigating airborne disease transmission indoors," despite performing below the "95%" rate in the study.

The findings should not be surprising, considering the follow "common sense" and current healthcare practice, according to professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering Serhiy Yarusevych.

"There is no question it is beneficial to wear any face covering, both for protection in close proximity and at a distance in a room," Yarusevych told the Post. "However, there is a very serious difference in the effectiveness of different masks when it comes to controlling aerosols."

The benefit of the study, is some backing for critics suggesting face masks do not work. There is a level of protection, according to the study.

"A lot of this may seem like common sense," Yarusevych told the Post. "There is a reason, for instance, that medical practitioners wear N95 masks – they work much better.

"The novelty here is that we have provided solid numbers and rigorous analysis to support that assumption."