Another Explanation for Why Cloth Masks Reduce COVID-19 Severity

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It’s not just the mask, it’s the humidity created inside the mask that helps protect against severe COVID-19, a recent study by National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers suggests.

The use of cloth masks has been linked with decreased disease severity, which is sur- prising considering such masks aren’t good at filtering out the smallest aerosol particles that can reach the lower respiratory tract, the researchers wrote.

They tested 4 types of masks: an N95 respirator, a 3-ply disposable surgical mask, a 2-ply cotton-polyester mask, and a heavy cotton mask. Volunteers breathed into a sealed steel box, and the scientists then measured the humidity level inside it.

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