To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we wear face masks to protect those around us from being exposed to our potentially infected respiratory droplets. But if you’ve been rocking a neck gaiter or bandana for style or ease, you’re actually not offering much protection at all, according to new research.
Scientists at Duke compared 14 different types of face coverings—including 2- and 3-ply fabric and surgical masks, various N95s, a neck gaiter, and a traditional bandana. They measured how many droplets came through the fabric when the wearer spoke.
Their findings, published in Science Advances: While some masks work quite well, bandanas offer almost no protection against the transmission of respiratory droplets. And the neck gaiter they tested actually let through more droplets compared to not wearing a mask at all.