Face masks, which are selling like hotcakes in supermarkets across China, are not the fool-proof solution to keeping someone from contracting coronavirus. While masks definitely do help in reducing the chances of getting infected by the airborne virus, there is a big catch.
A news report in New Scientist notes that even the standard surgical mask, being employed in massive numbers by concerned people worldwide, don’t offer full protection on the face and mouth.
“And very small particles can simply pass through the material of the mask. These masks also leave the wearer’s eyes exposed – and there’s a chance the virus can infect that way,” says the report.
The second type of masks being worn by people these days, the N95 respirators, offer more protection than the surgical masks. However, it is this very advantage that becomes a shortcoming when these masks are worn by people exhibiting symptoms of infection.
Says the New Scientist report, “N95 respirators can also make it more difficult for a person to breathe, so could be dangerous for someone showing symptoms of infection of the new coronavirus, which include coughing and shortness of breath.”