In a recently published study, the researchers unveiled a simple method to evaluate the effectiveness of various types of masks, analyzing more than a dozen different facial coverings ranging from hospital-grade N95 respirators to bandanas. Of the 14 masks and other coverings tested, the study found that some easily accessible cotton cloth masks are about as effective as standard surgical masks, while popular alternatives such as neck gaiters made of thin, stretchy material may be worse than not wearing a mask at all.
This is difficult for me as I had adopted neck gaitors as my barrier of choice. I will keep them for the bike but need to go back to more traditional masks elsewhere.
You are not alone - there are a lot of cyclists using their gators for masks. Good idea to supplement with masks when needed.
Way before this was a thing, I was wearing a gator for sun and wind protection. Now that I have a mask on under the gator that I still wear, nobody can see it, and I start to get looks now. Not the usual how nice my eyes are looks, but how now I'm typhoid Mary looks. Sigh. Lots of people like to pre-judge and jump to conclusions even though they don't really know what's going on. Lot of that going around lately.
Problems with that study. Gaiters are just fine.
Well, "just fine" isn't really accurate either. It's probably somewhere in between. Slate isn't bringing in the CDC on this, they are speculating.
Probably the best rule of thumb is to put on the mask, bandana, or neck gaiter and blow out a candle. You shouldn't be able to blow the candle out. Also, not all neck gaiters are created equally. I have one knit gaiter and one very thin gaiter I would not wear. I wear masks with layers that were created to be masks. As someone that is higher risk, I'm not going to take a chance because a person who writes opinion pieces for a living tells me it's ok. I'll keep wearing my masks and social distancing. Don't get me wrong, I want this to be over too, I just want to be healthy when we come out of it.
I wear a neck gaiter while biking, and only pull it over my face for the parts of my ride that may be on crowded paths. I think the protection it provides others from me is adequate for briefly passing, outdoors, at a distance. If I'm going indoors anywhere, I'll wear a cloth mask or a surgical mask. But I really can't tolerate those while biking - my breathing is inhibited, I feel uncomfortably warm, the inside of the mask gets wet from condensation, and my glasses get fogged (not safe!).
I double over my neck gaiter. Would that help? Is wool better than synthetic?
The concern I'm reading is that knit has holes. Also, if it's thin material, that too is not good.
Double fabric is good but if it has holes, it can get through. When I bike, I use a mask and when no one is around, I pull it down. When I walk, I keep it on longer and sometimes even forget about it but in 90-100 degree weather (DC area has been super hot for over a month), the biggest complaint is that I get sweaty. It's not ideal but if it means I can go for a hike or a bike ride, I'll wear the mask.