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Hi AskDr, given that surgical masks are in shortage, are cloth masks equally helpful? How about water-repellent fabric masks such as masks made with medical fabric (those on surgical drapes/gown)?

Dr. Bryan K
Space Doctor
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Hello @deliriousg, very good question. In fact I was just speaking to a respiratory physician who brought up this topic. Cloth and water-repellent fabric masks are as helpful as surgical masks as they provide barrier protection too. What is most important is the mask fit. Fabric masks have the addition benefit of reusability. Of course, such barrier precautions have to be coupled with proper hand hygiene as well! 
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Thank you Dr. Bryan for the prompt reply!
When you say cloth masks, are you also including generic fabric which are water-absorbent? If the main method of transmission is through respiratory discharges, are they also similarly effective in keeping virus-laden droplets out of our mouth/nose?