When 'Low Tech' Becomes Your Silver Bullet

With testing coming out last week from Cambridge research lab using the Henderson apparatus, denim fabric had the highest rated effectiveness of any available cloth mask at stopping 1.0 micron particles which includes the COVID-19 virus.
One take-home message from the data is that natural fibers (like cotton and paper) generally filtered better than synthetic fibers (like polyester and polypropylene). Synthetic fibers tend to be smooth and uniform, whereas natural fibers are rougher and more irregular. The irregularity of natural fibers are likely to make them better at capturing tiny particles through Brownian motion.

                                                                   © Dr. J. Alba (Polytechnic Univ. of Valencia)

With that being established check out some exponential math.

At an R0 (reproduction number) of 1.3, 1 person spreads COVID-19 to an average of 4100 people in 10 generations. At 2.3, it’s 14,000. At 3.3 it’s 153,000 people. But what if you reverse that.

If high quality masks were ubiquitous & 1000 people have COVID-19 & the R is .9, after 10 cycles, it reduces itself to 350. But at .8, it’s only 107. At .3, after only 6 cycles, the virus is virtually stopped.

Even if you don’t welcome the idea of wearing a mask for a period of time (and I would argue why not?), the larger point is we are not powerless in the face of this virus. We have science, ingenuity & collective action.

Stay healthy, Stay Raw

Info @alevitt on Twitter