Evaluation of Cloth Masks and Modified Procedure Masks as Personal Protective Equipment for the Public During the COVID-19 Pandemic

During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the general public has been advised to wear masks or improvised face coverings to limit transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). However, there has been considerable confusion and disagreement regarding the degree to which masks protect the wearer from airborne particles.

DICON Medical Director, Dr. Dev Anderson, and the CDC Epicenters Program worked to evaluate the fitted filtration efficiency (FFE) of various consumer-grade and improvised face masks, as well as several popular modifications of medical procedure masks that are intended to improve mask fit or comfort.

While modifications to improve medical procedure mask fit can enhance the filtering capability and reduce inhalation of airborne particles, this study demonstrates that the FFEs of consumer-grade masks available to the public are, in many cases, nearly equivalent to or better than their non-N95 respirator medical mask counterparts.

You can read more about their work and findings here