How accurate is this array of COVID masks on social media?


DENVER (KDVR) – By now you may have seen an online chart that claims to show how long it takes to transmit COVID based on the mask you wear.

The graph shows transmission in as little as 15 minutes without a mask, with more than a day of protection for people wearing N-95 masks. But how precise is it?

“I think these numbers we have to take with a grain of salt,” said Dr. Lisa Maier, of National Jewish Health.

What the graphic looks like: cloth masks aren’t great

Maier, head of the Occupational Health and Environmental Health Sciences Division, saw a graph or two in his time. She says the now-viral picture does not take into account immunization status and other variables such as the fit of someone’s mask.

Still, she says the general premise is a good reminder of how effective the different masks are.

“It’s a good reminder that there is relative risk here,” she said. “A: Being exposed is a real problem. And B: Sheet masks really aren’t that good, and we can do better.

This graphic was released online and is designed to show how long various mask designs are resistant to disease transmission.

The problem solvers found that the graph was produced in spring 2021 for a working group involving an association of nonprofit healthcare workers.

Maier said the omicron variant, known to be more transmissible, has likely made the graph less accurate since its production last year.

Ultimately, she said sheet masks often don’t cut it if you’re exposed to someone with COVID-19 for a long time.

“I would say that as this pandemic has continued and we have had more experience, the sheet masks are not as good,” she said. “Should we be providing better masks to the public? I think it would be great if more people had access to it.


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