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From the Wall Street Journal - By Austen Hufford and Andrew Williams - July 28, 2020 10:22 am ET
Face masks are a simple way to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus through talking, coughing or sneezing, scientists and public-health specialists say. But they need to be worn properly.
While some types of masks are more effective than others, public-health officials say any face covering—even a bandanna—is better than nothing.
Here's how different types of masks stack up, and how they are meant to be used.
Cut from different cloth
Common masks fall into three categories: cloth masks or coverings like gaiters, intended to prevent an infected person from spreading the virus by catching large droplets; surgical masks, with a more sophisticated design also meant to prevent the wearer from spreading diseases; and N95 masks, which protect the wearer as well, and fit tightly to the face.
Fit vs. function
A good cloth mask filters well and is comfortable to breathe through.
A cloth mask should consist of three layers: an inner layer near the mouth that can get moist, a middle filtration layer and an outer layer exposed to the outside environment. Here are the materials for homemade masks that do this best, according to the World Health Organization, using a scale that combines filter quality and breathability. A higher rating is better.
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