The holes in face masks don't mean they're useless - Full Fact

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Various studies have shown the effect of face masks on reducing the risk of viral infection.
The holes in face masks don't mean they're useless

24 November 2021

What was claimed Face masks are useless at stopping Covid-19 because the gaps in them are larger than a Covid-19 viral particle. Our verdict Face masks, especially surgical masks, have been shown to reduce Covid-19 infection.

A post on Instagram claims a Stanford study has shown face masks are ineffective at blocking Covid-19 viral particles.

We have written about the study cited before. The author was not affiliated with Stanford University and the paper was strewn with basic errors, misrepresenting legitimate research on the effect of face masks.

The study has since been retracted.

The post goes on to claim that face masks have gaps measuring 55,000 nanometres across while the Covid-19 virus is just 140 nanometres, suggesting face masks are useless.

The gaps in face masks can be much larger than the size of a viral particle. That doesn't mean face masks are useless.

For one thing, Covid-19 is often spread by viral particles…
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