Spread of aerosols: devastating verdict: Scientists advise against using clear masks as face masks
In an experiment, the Munich University of Applied Sciences examined how aerosols spread when wearing transparent masks. In two scenarios, the scientists examined the spread of aerosol in closed rooms – and strongly advise against using such masks.
The corona pandemic has brought out its very own fads. The mouth and nose protection has produced a wide variety of – sometimes more, sometimes less attractive – models, not all of which protect against infection or transmission of the virus equally well. FFP2 masks, mouth and nose protection from the operating room or even just a bandana. Not all variants are recommended in order to protect yourself and others from infection.
Scientists at the University of Munich have so-called clear masks on their infection protection examinedthat are used, for example, in restaurants, cosmetics shops and other facilities. The experts wanted to know how well these clear masks are suitable for protecting against infection. First of all, the protection of these masks is anything but sufficient.
Do clear masks protect against corona infection?
According to the current infection protection measures in Bavaria, masks of this type may be called mouth and nose covers, although a gap of one to several centimeters between the face and the mask remains free on the lower side. Surf tip: You can find all the news about the coronavirus in the news ticker from FOCUS Online
In an experiment, the Munich University of Applied Sciences has now investigated how aerosols spread with such transparent masks. Specifically, the scientists looked at two scenarios: one time, the test subject was sitting on a chair wearing a clear mask and breathing through his nose; on a second attempt, the person walked across the room coughing.
Thick aerosol cloud after just a few seconds
In scenario 1, the aerosols initially flow down the body, as advertised by the manufacturer. Shortly afterwards, however, the aerosol is deflected forward and then extends “far into the area in front of the test person,” explain the scientists from Munich University of Applied Sciences. The dramatic consequence in a real everyday situation: A person sitting directly opposite would be exposed to all the exhaled aerosols directly and possibly unprotected.
In the second scenario, the results are by no means better, as the photographs of the experiment show. Coughing several times while walking through the room creates “an extended aerosol cloud, which immediately afterwards continues to expand in the room,” the researchers conclude. The aerosol spreads “relatively quickly”.
The result of the experiment is clear: In both scenarios there can be no question of effective infection protection. Other people in particular are at risk from such masks.
Clear masks do not provide effective protection against infection
“Without a doubt, these masks are comfortable to wear, but they do not offer effective protection against infections,” says Christian Schwarzbauer, Professor of Medical Technology and Medical Formats and the scientific director of the pilot study. “We urgently advise against using such masks, especially in closed rooms such as schools, day-care centers, offices or public transport,” adds Christian Hanshans, professor for medical principles and medical technology at Munich University of Applied Sciences.
In the open air, the risk of infection with such transparent masks is certainly different. Nonetheless, these masks could also cause infection in the fresh air if they come into contact in a confined space. According to the conclusion of the scientists, transparent masks are by no means recommended in closed rooms.
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