In a new study, researchers found that tight-fitting masks can reduce COVID-19 transmission by 95%.
They found in lab settings, wearing cloth or medical masks close to the face cut COVID-19 transmission by 95%.
The experiments highlight the importance of a good fit to maximize overall mask performance.
The research was conducted by a team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the study, the team used dummies to test two methods to prevent air leakage from the mask’s edges: double masking (wearing a cloth mask over a medical mask) and knotting and tucking masks.
For this, they knotted the ear loops of a medical mask at the mask edges and tucked in and flattened any extra material close to the face.
When people wear tight-fitting masks, the infection could be reduced effectively, experiments showed.
The team says the use of a mask fitter (a fitted plastic frame for a mask) or wearing a nylon covering over the mask can increase the benefits of masks.
Unlike N95 respirator masks, cloth masks and surgical or medical masks fit loosely, allowing respiratory droplets to escape. They are not intended to block airborne particles.
Researchers say that to get the best mask fit, people should not be able to see or feel any kind of open spots around the edges of the mask, especially around the nose.
Signs of leakage include eyeglasses fogging up or cold breath coming from the sides of masks while outside.
One author of the study is Dr. John Brooks from the CDC’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Team.