The WHO’s guide to making more effective reusable masks

FROM OUR OBSESSION

Being Human

We’ve never been as connected, or as isolated.

Seven months into the pandemic, cloth masks are now fashion statements. But when you’re building up your wardrobe, it’s worth considering not just your mask’s pattern, but its protective power.

Fabric masks slow the spread of viruses from the wearer to others. But their efficacy depends on how they’re made. Many cloth masks you can buy today are made of simple cotton, but the World Health Organization recommends that non-medical fabric masks have three layers of fabric, each made of a different material to serve a different protective role.

A number of household items can be combined to make a more effective mask. Here’s how to layer up, according to the WHO’s guidelines, issued in early June:

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