Watch Bill Nye Test Which Face Masks Work the Best

The Science Guy is here to, once again, explain a concept with an experiment you can do at home.

As the debate continues over whether mask-wearing is essential to slowing the spread of coronavirus (and public health agencies, infectious disease experts, and many studies agree that it is), one of America's favorite scientists has stepped in to make his case. Bill Nye, widely known as Bill Nye the Science Guy, posted two videos to his TikTok channel not only to plead with people to don face coverings in public, but also to show how they work. Fans of his educational TV series no doubt remember having many scientific concepts explained to them via the host's experiments; with these new videos, Bill Nye tests which face masks work best to protect against coronavirus.

Like many of Nye's household experiments, this one is also easily recreated. The scientist (wearing his signature bow tie) simply uses a lit taper candle and tries to blow it out while wearing different types of coverings. He starts with a winter scarf, which, he points out, is meant to block cold air from reaching your neck. However, the weave is too open for it to be a useful barrier to respiratory droplets. He can easily blow out the candle while holding it over his nose and mouth.


@billnye##WearAMask ##LearnOnTikTok ##TikTokPartner♬ original sound – billnye

Next, Nye uses a homemade, double-layer cotton face mask with a pipe cleaner insert that allows it to fit snugly over the bridge of the nose. Blowing as hard as he can, just inches from the flame, the scientist is unable to blow it out.

@billnye##WearAMask ##LearnOnTikTok ##TikTokPartner♬ original sound – billnye

Finally, he tries to blow out the candle again while wearing an N95 mask. Try as he might, the flame won't extinguish. The same is true of a disposable surgical mask.

Basically, the experiment proves that you have many options when it comes to face coverings, and that, as long as the covering isn't too loose-fitting or not woven tightly enough, it's much better than not wearing one at all.

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"The reason we want you to wear a mask is to protect you, sure. But the main reason we want you to wear a mask is to protect me from you, and the particles from your respiratory system from getting into my respiratory system," Nye says, to conclude the lesson. "Everybody, this is a matter literally of life and death." And when I use the word 'literally,' I mean literally: a matter of life and death. So when you're out in public, please wear a mask."

And for another helpful tip, here's The One Face Mask Hack You're Not Doing But Should Be.

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