With the potential spread of more contagious Covid-19 strains looming, epidemiologists are persistent in their messaging that the pandemic is far from over. Vaccinations are a major step, but they do not negate the critical need for continued widespread face covering.
“Vaccines have shown us a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, but we still need to proceed with the utmost caution until we get there,” said Tom Votel, Ergodyne President & CEO. “In the meantime, that means masking up and doing it properly.”
As understanding of the virus develops, medical experts continue to evolve recommendations for effective face coverings. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) remain consistent in their messaging on the importance of multiple layers and proper, secure fit around the mouth and nose—whether that be neck gaiters or face masks.
“Despite efforts by the study authors to clarify, we’re unfortunately still seeing some lingering confusion on the effectiveness of neck gaiters following the media’s misinterpretation of the Duke University experiment last summer,” said Chris Cota, Ergodyne Product Manager and working member of the ASTM Barrier Face Covering Standard. “We want to remind folks that additional research has shown gaiters can be a suitable mode of protection for low to mid-level risk environments—particularly those made of two or more layers.”
Another major study currently being conducted by the CDC pertains to the effectiveness of wearing two face coverings at once. Leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci recently declared this a “common sense approach” and indicated he himself often wears two masks.
The primary logic behind the doubling of face coverings is that the second layer creates a more secure seal by closing any gaps left by the first covering. For this reason, the best options for double coverage are neck gaiters or slightly larger fabric masks.
“The filtration efficiency of a face covering is only as good as its fit. Gaps give particles an escape route,” said Cota. “Given the size, fit and comfort of neck gaiters, they’re among your best options for doubling up over a mask—particularly for those with tough-to-cover beards.”
Ergodyne plans to continue efforts toward research and development of worksite-intended face coverings as the Covid-19 pandemic evolves. This work is guided by OSHA’s Worker Exposure Risk Pyramid and aims to provide a range of face covering options to suit varying worker needs and environments.
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