Ergodyne Clarifies Neck Gaiter Findings with Help of Study Authors
Leaders at safety work gear manufacturer Ergodyne issued a follow up today on the company’s Aug. 13 release regarding the recent Duke University study titled, Low-cost measurement of facemask efficacy for filtering expelled droplets during speech.
The initial release warned against the dangers of misunderstanding the Duke study, particularly condemning the media’s flawed message that wearing a neck gaiter may be more dangerous to the spread of Covid-19 than wearing no face covering at all.
In response, Dr. Warren S. Warren and Dr. Marvin Fischer (co-authors of the study) clarified with both Ergodyne and the media that the intention of the study was to evaluate a particular method of testing—not provide a definitive ranking on the efficacy of each mask type. When asked if the public should interpret the study’s findings to indicate neck gaiters are “worse than nothing”, Dr. Fischer answered, “Absolutely not.”
A number of reputable media outlets have since published articles refuting the misinterpretation of the gaiter’s overall efficacy and upholding the neck gaiter as an effective mode of face protection to limit the spread of Covid-19. These publications include The New York Times, NPR, ScienceNews, Snopes and SFGate—among others.
“In the interest of public safety, we urge the media to balance any and all reports with as much available information as possible,” said Tom Votel, President & CEO of Ergodyne. “Misinterpretation of headlines during a global pandemic can be incredibly dangerous… particularly when those headlines have been unequivocally repudiated by the authors of the study that is being reported on, as in this case.”
Votel pointed to another non-clinical experiment conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison which, conversely, found neck gaiters to be most effective in containing a cough. “There are a lot of smart folks out there working diligently to provide further clarity on this situation in any way they can. Studies such as the ones done at Duke and Wisconsin should not be taken as a definitive statement to eschew a particular mode of face covering, but should rather be considered in the larger context of our rapidly changing understanding of the virus.”
“When it comes to selecting the most appropriate face covering, one should do their best to balance protection, breathability and comfort—all the while referencing performance data that is supported by third party testing and based on well-vetted and accepted metrics,” said Chris Cota, Ergodyne Product Manager and working member of the ASTM Barrier Face Covering Standard. “We will continue to do our due diligence to rapidly and responsibly test existing Ergodyne products, as well as innovate for the future. There is a wide range of risk exposure levels and work environments in our industry, and we are actively working to develop solutions to address these varied needs and requirements.”
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