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N95, cloth masks are most effective at stopping spread of germs, test finds

WPTV and Florida Atlantic University tested effectiveness of face coverings
Posted at 2:06 PM, Jul 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-13 19:06:45-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — N95 and cloth face masks may be your best bet to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

That's what an experiment between WPTV and Florida Atlantic University's biology department uncovered on Monday.

The experiment looked at the effectiveness of three different types of face coverings: an N95 mask, a cloth mask, and a face gaiter.

During the test, three people coughed five times on separate Petri dishes while wearing each mask. On the last cough, each person held the Petri dish close to their face and coughed into it without wearing a mask.

Here are the results:

  • Bacteria was found on all the Petri dishes that were coughed on without masks
  • No bacteria was found on the dishes for the N95 and cloth masks
  • Only one of the dishes for the face gaiter had bacteria on it


WEB EXTRA: Test results of face mask effectiveness

"There is no need for the politics. Take politics out of this. Wearing the mask helps. That is what the results show and that is what the science shows," said Dr. Nwadiuta Esiobu, a professor of biological sciences at FAU who led the experiment.

While the N95 and cloth masks appeared to be the most effective at stopping the spread of germs, the face gaiter let some bacteria through.

If you wear a face gaiter, Dr. Esiobu recommends folding down the cloth and doubling the material to make those types of masks more effective.