Should we, or should we not be compelled to utilize goggles throughout a virus epidemic? It sounds an easy enough question. Indeed, the result seems so obvious to a lot of, including the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, that they are questioning why this measure is not already mandatory. Surgeons wear them; they filter mid-air we breathe; viruses have been in the environment; let’s get everybody putting them on. Other countries have, so that they have to be helpful. It seems so straightforward.
Because of a shortage of masks, aerosol scientists across the country have been testing everyday materials to see how well they may be employed in a homemade mask. Most with the time, they have compared the total amount and height and width of particles filtered to the standard used for medical masks — 0.3 microns. However, an often-cited 2013 study on University of Cambridge used another standard, testing two layers of materials using particles of approximately 1 micron. Linsey Marr, an aerosol scientist at Virginia Tech, notes that while the 0.3 micron test is really a higher standard, the 1 micron test still can be useful in helping people make decisions about face mask materials. “There are likely additional viruses in 1 micron droplets/aerosols than in 0.3 micron droplets/aerosols,” said Dr. Marr. “So regardless of whether a mask only removes 20% with the droplets/aerosols which are 0.3 microns in dimensions, it likely does better use the 1 micron droplet/aerosols, materials testing.”
Additionally, a number of the viral particles are so small that they’ll be inhaled with the cloth or paper that’s accustomed to make these masks. People should not be lulled into a false sense of peace of mind in thinking that most of these masks will protect them from airborne, aerosolized virus specifically in poorly ventilated spaces frequented by others. The best thing to accomplish would be to either avoid such spaces or perhaps be inside them for as short a period as you can.
When someone with Covid-19 wears a face mask, they could prevent other people from being infected. It’s also vital for healthcare workers to utilize goggles (also to have masks available to utilize), both during surgery and routine procedures, to avoid patients becoming infected. Health staff is professional experts who understand how to correctly use markers. The masks they will use are medical grade equipment, and are far more effective than their cloth alternatives.