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Types of Face Masks, Ranked by Effectiveness

Apparently, not all face masks are created equal.

A new study reveals there’s a notable difference between various types of masks, with some offering more protection from the coronavirus than others.

Florida Atlantic University researchers found that with no protection, droplets from a cough or sneeze travel about 12 feet — twice as far as the six-foot social distancing guideline.

Bandanas proved to be the least effective type of covering, reducing the droplets’ journey to 3 feet, 6 inches, according to the study’s findings.

A folded cotton handkerchief does a lot better, stopping droplets at 1 foot, 3 inches.

With an expensive, commercial mask, researchers found droplets traveled only 8 inches.

Surprisingly, the big winner was homemade masks with multiple layers of quilting cotton. The material kept droplets from traveling no further than 2.5 inches, researchers found.

Danielle Tufano


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