Tip Sheets

New CDC mask guidance reflects challenge with unique face profiles

Transmission of COVID-19 could be reduced by up to 96.5 percent if people wear tightly fitted surgical masks or a cloth-and-surgical mask combination, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday in a new report.

Juan Hinestroza

Rebecca Q Morgan '60 Professor of Fiber Science & Apparel Design

Juan Hinestroza, professor of fiber science at Cornell University, explores new pathways for creating multifunctional fibers at the nanoscale level. He says the new CDC mask guidance reflects issues many people have with “one size fits all” masks.

“The issue of mask fit is of critical nature, and I am glad the CDC is recommending a tightly fitted mask or a combination of a surgical and cloth mask, as they also help improve the protection provided by the masks. Each person has a unique facial profile, so it is unlikely that one mask will fit everyone perfectly.

“Textiles fabrics, due to their flexible nature, are very good at draping to complex surfaces such as the face. A properly fitted mask can guarantee that both the air that is inhaled – and more importantly the air that is exhaled – goes through the mask filtration media and does not find easier pathways, which are easily available in masks that are not properly fitted.

“At Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, we have facilities to scan complex surfaces such as the human face and create personalized masks that can provide comfort and protection.”

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