Homemade face masks need two or three layers of cloth to effectively prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a new study found.
The medical journal Thorax posted the results of the study by the University of New South Wales in Australia, CNBC reported.
Researchers investigated the effectiveness of single- and double-layer cloth face coverings at reducing the spread of respiratory droplets when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes.
Then they compared those results with a three-ply surgical face mask.
The three-play was found the most effective, researchers found, CNBC reported. The single-layer covering reduced the droplet spread from speaking, but the double-layer covering was better in reducing droplets from coughing and sneezing, they found.
"A cloth face covering with at least two layers is preferable to a single-layer one," Prateek Bahl of the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at UNSW, a lead author of the study, wrote in the findings, CNBC reported.
"Guidelines on homemade cloth masks should stipulate multiple layers."
The researchers noted, however, a single layer is better than no covering at all. And several other factors determine how effective cloth masks are, like the type of material, the number of layers, the arrangement of different layers and frequency of washing, CNBC reported.
The study comes as the Trump administration pushes for the public to adopt face coverings in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began recommending face masks for the general public in April.
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