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Mask Science – We need to talk about Gaps

Iris Luckhaus – “In Germany, the wearing of medical masks, i.e. FFP2 or surgical masks, became mandatory yesterday. Since I don’t think anyone will check certifications in public, this means that everything except cloth masks is allowed. I’d like to explain how masks work, how filter and fit determine their efficiency, and why a cloth mask ban doesn’t really make much sense to me. Furthermore, I’d like to point out solutions for a more responsible, safe and sustainable use of medical masks. One of these solutions could be wearing a cloth cover over medical masks, or double masking…I’ve studied clothing design with a focus on patterns, but worked mainly as an illustrator since. Last spring, I intended to sew a couple of masks for friends and family, so I tested all the patterns I could find. None of them fitted properly, so I used what I learnt to invent my own. Surprisingly, the first attempt was a perfect fit – gapless / fog-free, with space to breathe / speak and even reliably staying in place! To help others, I published the pattern, and ever since, the “Luckhaus Hybrid Mask” is enthusiastically sewn by volunteers and partners from all over the world. Meanwhile, I’ve helped countless makers, created a pictorial, customizations, instant masks and an infographic for mask tying. My expertise is pattern making, not material science, but after spending a lot of time reading and discussing studies and articles, I’ve learned a bit about how masks work. On this basis, I am writing here, to the best of my knowledge. The recent representation of cloth masks in German media vexes me. It is claimed that cloth masks “do not filter” or that “all air escapes to their sides”, whereas medical masks are presented as perfect protection, under all conditions. From what I know, that’s simply wrong – and making medical masks mandatory just doesn’t make sense to me…” [h/t Rachel Royece}

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