The Venezuelan Academy of Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences advises against the use of cloth masks

cloth face masks
Photo: Kerwing Hernandézkerwinghg

The Academy of Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences of Venezuela advises against the use of handmade fabric masks, arguing that they are not effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Experts explained by Twitter For this type of face mask to be useful, it must be made in several layers and using closed woven fabrics.

“Fabric masks are effective if they are multi-layered and cohesive. These would stop droplets of saliva or nasal secretions, preventing COVID-19 infection. In some countries, laboratories certify appropriate fabrics,” the academy noted on Twitter.

The American organization Smart Air, which specializes in air purifiers, decided that fabric and leather are the materials that can help prevent infection. This is because the fabrics are woven enough to prevent the passage of coronavirus particles, but at the same time are breathable for continuous and long-term use.

Specialists blow air through at least 30 types of fabric to see how well large and small particles are filtered, to test its breathability.

Cotton can also be an effective option for making cloth face masks, according to the organization.

The doctor and professor at the University of Los Andes, Luis Jorge Hernandez, confirmed to the newspaper Republic That some fabrics, with certain properties, can be a good barrier to protection, he added that having a mask is not infallible insurance, so it’s important to keep your distance from washing your hands.

Lynsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, explains that a thicker, more woven fabric is more effective at creating a barrier than a thinner, more flexible material. The Wall Street Journal

Recommended masks

“Be careful not to use the mask. Not all are effective. Some European countries advise against the use of handmade cloth masks: they require the use of surgical or N95 and FFP2 type masks, with greater protection and filtration,” the Academy of Sciences warned.

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FFP2 masks have shown high efficacy against the virus and are approved to prevent infection. It filters approximately 92% of harmful particles inside and out and is suitable for all ages.

For their part, KN95 masks have a filtering capacity of 95% of particles around 0.3 microns and are usually self-filtering. They can be reused, so they should not be thrown away after one use.

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