Can Masks Capture Coronavirus Particles?

N95 and P100 will GREATLY reduce the number of virions one breathes in.

The initial viral load has been correlated to the severity of the case in studies.

How Big Are Coronavirus Particles?
First things first: we need to know how big the coronavirus is. Scientists have already used electron microscopes to measure how big the corona virus is. Coronavirus particles (fancy scientific name “virions”) are spheres with diameters of approximately 0.125 microns (125 nm). The smallest particles are 0.06 microns, and the largest are 0.14 microns.

Coronavirus virus particle size
This means coronavirus particles are smaller than the PM2.5 cutoff, but bigger than some dust particles and gases.

Size of coronavirus particle pm2.5 and bacteria
Now that we know how big the particles are, do masks capture coronavirus particles? Let’s break this down into two simpler questions.

1. Can Masks Capture Coronavirus Particles?
The skeptic case:
Amid the outbreak, some people have said: The coronavirus (and other viruses for that matter) is tiny, and masks are so thin. They can’t possibly get tiny coronavirus particles. Business Insider used this logic in their article whose title claimed masks “probably won’t protect you.”

The scientific test:
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh tested different common masks by running a diesel generator (to mimic car exhaust) and piping the exhaust through the masks. They used a particle counter to see how many particles made it through the mask.

One important detail: the particle counter they used measured particles as small as 0.007 microns. That’s over 10 times smaller than the coronavirus particle diameter. We’re talking about truly tiny particles here!

They tested a whole range of masks, and here’s what they found:

The study:


h/t BFD