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DIY Face Mask Effectiveness Against COVID-19

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Technical Report,31 Mar 2020,03 May 2020

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711th Human Performance Wing Wright-Patterson AFB United States

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This paper addresses the question of how effective Do It Yourself DIY Personal Protective Equipment PPE, i.e. face masks, are within the general population in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. It references studies comparing the effectiveness of various materials in DIY masks alongside surgical masks and respirators. This is associated with the Department of Defenses COVID-19 announcement for all Total Force members military personnel, civilian employees, contractors and their family members to wear a cloth face covering in public settings where social-physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Studies have shown that holistically given a variety of factors that are discussed in depth in this paper a single layer pillowcase or a 100 cotton t-shirt are the most suitable household materials for an improvised DIY face mask. This is due to their breathability, fit factor, and their ability to reduce viral particle transmission by up to 50. In general, using any type of face mask can decrease viral transmission. However, it is important not to focus on a single intervention in the case of a pandemic, but rather to integrate all effective interventions for optimal protection.3 A DIY face mask will not completely eliminate the possibility of infection with COVID-19, particularly given that there are multiple routes of transmission. But the underlying consensus of all research suggests that DIY cloth facemasks are better than nothing at all. It is vital to note that all DIY face masks, regardless of the efficiency of their filtration or seal, will only have partial effectiveness on their own. They must be used in conjunction with other preventative measures, which include isolation of infected individuals, immunization, maintaining healthy eatingfitness standards, cough and respiratory etiquette, and regular hand hygiene. 2,3,8,14

Subject Categories:

  • Protective Equipment

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