The goal of a mask is to be a barrier, Maniar says. But a mask through which we must also breathe can’t block absolutely everything. So researchers hunting for the best masks to mitigate coronavirus particles are studying whether particles of the same size can make it through the material.
Viral particles are just 0.1 microns in size. A micron is one-millionth of a meter. So they are tiny.
Certified N95 or similar respirators are considered the gold-standard face coverings for blocking viral particles. Fernandez’s research found that a N95 that was properly fitted was about 99% effective at keeping out particles of the same size as the coronavirus particles.