What percent of public mask wearing is actually effective?

I’ve done my share of reading up on this and have discussed this topic in various threads and as a result wanted to put this question to the test. First here are some of the areas I believe there’s generally broad agreement on:

  1. N95 is the most effective mask.
  2. Most masks likely offer little protection from getting the virus.
  3. If someone doesn’t have COVID they can’t spread the virus.

In this inquiry I would like to focus on number 3 first. I looked at the national numbers and took the day with the largest number of daily cases and multiplied that by 14 (since that’s the generally agreed upon days for one to recover). Divided that by the total population and that gave me a number of 1.3% as a daily infection rate (until we go through another year with the Delta variant + vaccines, that could change). In other words in any given sociological setting only one or two people out of 100 would potentially have COVID (assuming there’s a relatively low number of people who are infected but asymptomatic). So one could make the case that >98% of mask wearing is doing nothing to prevent the spread of the virus.

The next question I have been asking is how effective is a mask at holding virus particles in especially when wearing it for 5 to 10 hours straight? The studies I’ve researched typically show a sneeze or a cough of a person with and without a mask. I don’t know of any study that analyzes how much concentration of the virus in a mask changes or is periodically released during 5-10 hours of repeated wearing?

Some other questions to consider:

  • How long do the virus particles stay on or in a mask?
  • How effective are masks that are repeatedly used?
  • What percent of virus particles are trapped in a mask via casual conversation and breathing vs coughing or sneezing?

Regarding the efficacy of most masks in an uncontrolled large sociological setting I consider myself in the middle because I think there are simply questions we don’t have answers to. Maybe others feel the same way, or maybe others have looked into such questions?

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Wash or replace masks often.

It’s not hard.

Not if you wear it the way I do.


The next variant will be much worse than delta. This might be the safest option.

So you don’t think type of mask matters? Good luck to you.

I didn’t say anything about type.

Any mask is better than no mask.

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I use the mask that is most comfortable for me. When ever possible I use no mask at all. My mask is a hood ornament. I did every thing asked of me. And I am still ordered to mask. I resent masking. I resent the lie we were told.


No one likes wearing a mask.

That is no reason to think that they are not needed in blocking your faceholes during a pandemic of a highly contagious respiratory disease.


I like fresh air. I cheat as much as possible. My mask is worthless. Usually it’s a chin strap.

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I have used them very rarely, because there is something far more effective than masking. Avoiding people, especially crowds.


I have gotten my shots and have natural immunity from getting Covid. I take no precautions other than masking when ordered to do so.

I enjoy avoiding people and crowds so it’s not a burden, more like an excuse. Sorry dear, no can go to the museum, covid.


The reality is most likely don’t. I’ve seen some disgusting looking masks. :face_vomiting:

Synthetic respirators do form a tight seal (for most people) unlike cloth masks which do not. Also the activated carbon filters can filter out even tiny organic molecules like acetone.

For how long?

Cloth masks appear to be effective in catching sneezes, coughs, and droplets of saliva from the wearer.

There is little evidence that they do much to protect the wearer from airborne particles produced by other people.

I’ll remember that the next time I’m cleaning out a acetone tank.

I wear a cloth mask for comfort. Not protection. Quit trying to ruin that!

The carbon filters are the reason insurgents liked to use chlorine gas.

But for how long and what percent? I don’t believe we know the answer to those questions.