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Wearing a community mask is 'better' for everyday use, says researcher
James Ransley in London
Europe;United Kingdom
02:49

KN-95, FFP2, community and cloth masks. These are some of the many different types of face coverings available. So, which one should you choose?

Leandro Pecchia, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Warwick says the general population should be using so-called 'community masks.' These are face coverings which are washable, reusable and made from fabric. 

"Community masks, which are probably more comfortable, they are the ones that, in my personal opinion, everyone should use in the street," Pecchia told CGTN's Global Business Europe program.

In its interim guidance issued in December 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) advised that community masks, or non-medical masks, were primarily for protecting others from exhaled virus-containing droplets emitted by the mask wearer.

 

Mask expert Leandro Pecchia says the general population should be using community masks to prevent potential shortages of much-needed medical masks. / Denis Farrell / AP Photo

Mask expert Leandro Pecchia says the general population should be using community masks to prevent potential shortages of much-needed medical masks. / Denis Farrell / AP Photo

 

FFP2 masks, or their equivalent N95 or KN95 depending on where you are in the world, filter up to 94 percent of the particles, droplets and aerosols from the air and have been used by many in professional fields such as construction and healthcare for some time now. On Monday, the German state of Bavaria ordered FFP2 masks to be worn in shops and on public transport. 

"The filtering capability of FFP2 masks is the highest possible. So, as a filter, this is no doubt, better than community masks," Pecchia says.

"But this is not the only barometer you should consider because then there are added barometers, such as the fitting, the economy, and the usability. FPP2 masks for people to use in everyday life is probably tiring. It is probably something we would not feel comfortable to wear."

 

 

Medical masks are designed for single-use and should be disposed of after one wear. Healthcare workers and vulnerable citizens are advised to wear medical masks. Pecchia says the general population should be using community masks to prevent any shortages of much-needed protective equipment.

 

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