The very mentioning of COVID-19 has a way of ruffling feathers. Since the pandemic first arrived in early 2020 there have been constant debates surrounding it, especially regarding the topic of masks. Thankfully, the U.S Department of Labor recently released a definitive answer regarding the N-95 Respirator mask and its effectiveness on the spread of COVID-19.
Properly fitted N-95 respirators are effective in protecting workers from the virus that causes COVID-19.
N-95 masks include a respiratory filter that removes 95% of .3 micron particles from the air. The opinion of those who believe N-95 masks are not effective is rooted in the thought that Covid-19 particles are .1 microns in size meaning that they could fit through the n-95 filter.
That thought is incorrect.
In any scenario where the virus could spread, such as talking, coughing, or sneezing, the virus is being expelled with other larger particles, not simply by itself. Although the virus itself can be as small as .1 micron, when expelled it is grouped to other particles like water or mucus, making it a part of a .3 micron or larger particle, which does not fit through the N-95 filter.
Here is an analogy to help simplify things…
You need to get through a door. You, by yourself, can fit through the door. In this scenario, you do not have use of your legs, so two of your friends must carry you through the door. The three of you are too large to pass through the door.
You are COVID-19. Your friends are water and mucus. The door is the N-95 mask.
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