The Worst Face Covering, According to the World's Fastest Supercomputer

This face covering is almost as useless as not wearing a mask at all.

Throughout the pandemic, there has been a lot of discussions around which face covering is the most effective in preventing the transmission of COVID. You want to know what kind of mask will keep you safest, of course, but you also need to know which face coverings to avoid. Recently, the world's fastest supercomputer ran tests to analyze the effectiveness of various face coverings, and concluded that face shields were the worst face covering option.

According to an August report in Nikkei Asian Review, the Japanese supercomputer Fugaku modeled the effectiveness of face shields in blocking the cough of a person wearing a face shield. The model showed that larger droplets—of 50 microns or more—stuck to the inner surface of the shield, but the smaller droplets—20 microns or smaller—were able to creep through the gaps around the shield. The study also looked at the effectiveness of cotton, polyester, and non-woven masks in intercepting a cough. The non-woven mask was found to be the most effective. However, all three face masks outperformed the face shield, blocking at least 80 percent of viral spray.

Construction worker wearing a face shield without a mask

And this isn't the only study to conclude that face shields are not a useful form of protection. A Sept. 1 study published by Physics of Fluids simulated coughing and sneezing from a mannequin's mouth and used laser light to visualize the droplets expelled. This study found that face shields were only able to block the "initial forward motion of the exhaled jet." Following the initial jet, the droplets from the cough or sneeze were able to easily move around the visor.

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Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has already posted guidance advising that they do not recommend the use of a face shield as a substitute for a mask, that has not been enough to dissuade some people. But with these two studies as further evidence, it seems clear that face shields are one of the worst face covering options when it comes to trying to protect yourself from COVID. And to find out when you can ditch your face covering entirely, Dr. Fauci Says This Is When We May Be Able to Stop Wearing Masks.

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