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Are cloth masks useful?

Now that we have a shortage of masks, is a cloth mask any good at all? Does it offer any percentage of protection? I heard you can slot in a dried wet wipe and it will be as good as a surgical mask. Is this true?

Note that if you get MC, you won't have enough mask to wear if you need to buy grocery. 
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Dr. Rosanna T
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Dear Ain, given the changing situation, do stay tuned for more updates on this as reusable masks were brought up during the address to the nation today. 
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@Siti
Thank you for your reply. As I understood it from both answers above, it is not a perfect solution but it is still useful given that there are possible asymptomatic people, CDC estimating it to be 25% while a study in Ireland points to 50% asymptomatic covid19 carriers.
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Dr. Zhemin W
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The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently released a recommendation for the use of cloth masks "in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission."
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
The website even goes on to provide instructions on making and fitting a DIY face mask!

The role for cloth masks can be viewed upon as a supplemental measure to, and not a replacement of, the foundational measures of social distancing and good personal hygiene. While it may not be as effective as a surgical mask in terms of its filtration capability, it does provide an additional layer of protection to exposed areas of the face vulnerable to virus entry.
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Dr. Rosanna T
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Dear Ain, that is a great question!

 According to the WHO advisory on the use of masks (19 March), Cloth (e.g. cotton or gauze) masks are not recommended. 

This is not to say that all cloth masks are no good at all and offer no percentage of protection. However, there is currently limited research on cloth masks for use in the community to prevent the spreading of infection. Furthermore, different masks are made differently.

In the case of COVID-19, we know that the infection is spread through droplets. Wearing a surgical mask when one is unwell will protect other people when one coughs or sneezes, as the mask would trap those droplets and prevent those droplets from spreading and disseminating.

If you are unwell, it is best to rest at home and wear a surgical mask if you must go out. Thank you again for being socially responsible and please take care! 


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@Bock_Keat
My short answer is yes however it is because it is able to capture droplets from the wearer and restrict you from touching your face. Cloth mask typically does not fit well and may be less breathable than a surgical mask.

If you want to know more, refer to the link below.
https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/best-materials-make-diy-face-mask-virus/
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