A growing body of evidence supports the idea that wearing face masks in public, even when you feel well, can help curb the spread of the coronavirus — since people can spread the virus even without showing symptoms.That’s the main reason to wear a mask: to protect other people from you.
Face masks can also offer the wearer some protection — though how much varies greatly, depending on the type of mask. No mask will offer full protection, and they should not be viewed as a replacement for physical distancing of at least 6 feet from others, frequent hand-washing and avoiding crowds. When you combine masks with those measures, they can make a big difference.
When choosing a mask, experts say focus on the fabric, fit and breathability. How well a mask protects is a function of both what it’s made of and how well it seals to your face. But if you can’t breathe well through it, then you’re less likely to keep it on.
Here’s a look at different kinds of masks you might consider and how effective they are at protecting the people around you — and you as well.