New International Study Buries Cloth Masks as ‘Effectively Useless’ Once-and-For-All

by Kyle Becker, Becker News:

A newly published scientific study in the peer-reviewed journal Physics of Fluids demonstrates that the cloth masks that hundreds of millions of people, including small children, have been forced by their governments to wear are essentially worthless.

The journal article was produced by British physicists with affiliations at U.K., German, and French universities and laboratories.


The scientists examined a variety of fabric masks with scanning electron microscopes, thermal imaging equipment, and sophisticated imaging software in order to perform multi-variate analyses of cloth mask performance.

The results? Not good for cloth mask advocates.

Image credit: Physics of Fluids

“A pair of trajectories with and without inertia that start at the same point,” the journal article states. “This is for a particle of diameter 20 μm. The fabric is shown in white, and trajectories with and without inertia are traced out by purple and by orange spheres, respectively. The sphere at the collision point is shown at the true particle size, others along the path are smaller, for clarity. Note that with inertia, the particle penetrates the fabric, while without it, the particle collides at the point shown by the large orange sphere. Here, inertia carries the particle a little farther out from the side of the inter-yarn pore, avoiding a collision. Image produced with ParaView.”

The authors’ findings were recently shared by the popular British website The Daily Mail.

“Cloth masks do little to prevent the spread of COVID-19, or other airborne diseases, a new study finds,” the Mail notes. “Researchers from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom found that 90 percent of particles could get through cloth masks, making them effectively useless during the pandemic.”

“Cloth masks have been popular in the U.S., as they are easily reusable after washing and at some points were the most accessible due to shortages and high prices for surgical or N95 masks,” the article added.

It is important to note that this study is not saying that cloth masks will stop 10% of Covid case transmission; nor it is saying that they will lower Covid cases by 10% in the aggregate. It is saying that 90% of particles the size of a virus penetrate cloth masks. This means that over time a virus stands a very high chance of mask penetration.

The Wall Street Journal in January also showed that cloth masks are virtually useless, while showing that surgical masks are also ill-equipped to guard against airborne viruses such as Covid-19.

It always important to quantify claims in the medical field. A dishonest researcher can claim that surgical masks are “better” than cloth masks, when the truth is that neither offer serious protection against Covid-19. (See the chart above for estimated time to Covid-19 penetration of various masks.)

“If you really want no exposure, you have to wear the right type of mask,” Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, told WSJ.

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