March 8, 2021

Japan supercomputer shows double-masking benefits are limited

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

A study by the Riken research institute and Kobe University using Fugaku, the world’s fastest supercomputer, finds that wearing two masks offers little benefit in preventing the spread of COVID-19 compared to one well-fitted disposable mask, the March 4 Reuters reports.

The researchers found that tightly-fitted surgical masks made of nonwoven material were 85% effective in blocking particles, and adding a polyurethane mask on top of the surgical mask increased effectiveness to just 89%.

Sponsored Message

Wearing two surgical masks wasn’t useful because air resistance builds up and causes leaks around the edges.

One regularly-fitted nonwoven mask was 81%, and one loosely-fitted nonwoven mask was just 69% effective.

In general, the study found N95 masks were the most effective in preventing COVID-19, followed by nonwoven masks, cloth masks, and polyurethane masks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended double masking in February, saying Americans should wear a cloth mask over a disposable mask.


Sign Up For OR a.m.
Sign up for the free OR a.m. eLetter to get news like this in your inbox every morning!

OR Manager Jobs
Live chat by BoldChat