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Duke University study suggests not all masks are created equally

A new Duke University study suggests that one mask in particular is worse than wearing no mask at all.

DURHAM, N.C. — Duke University researchers are working to answer a common question amid the COVID-19 pandemic: which face masks are the most effective?

A recent study had subjects wearing different types of masks and saying the phrase "stay healthy, people." The researchers then recorded the droplets that were left on each one of the masks. 

To catch the droplets, they used a box laser, a lens and a cell phone camera.

The surgical masks tested well, but not as well as the N95. Researchers say some droplets got through the gaps on the side.

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The research found that cloth masks were pretty much the same. They didn't give droplets much room to escape, but still not as airtight as N95.

Credit: Duke University

Bandanas might look fashionable, but the study showed it didn't actually do much for protection.

For the neck fleece, researchers said the number of droplets escaping was actually higher than if no mask were worn at all. They believe the material breaks large droplets into smaller particles.

Researchers say to be sure to still wear a mask no matter what. They conducted this study to make sure people can make an informed decision about how to best protect themselves and others.

Credit: Duke University

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