American Chemical Society
April 20, 2020

Cloth masks can help protect you against COVID-19, the American Chemical Society explained in Reactions, its science video series. 

Don Milton, professor of environmental health and guest on the video, told ACS that the idea of the virus being transmitted droplet versus airborne is an artificial paradigm. 

“There’s a gradient,” Milton said. “It’s not that there’s aerosols and droplets and they’re two different things. There’s droplets and then there’s smaller droplets.”

The word “microdroplets” might help people understand that there’s a gradient, Milton said. 

Cloth masks could help block larger droplets, though small droplets might still be able to get through, ACS reported. But, cloth masks are better than nothing. The CDC recommends that if you sew your own cloth mask, use two layers of tightly woven 100% cotton fabric. 

But, even if you wear a mask, you should still continue to social distance. 

“There’s a worry that you give people a false sense of security by telling them to wear masks,” Milton said on the video.  

Milton told ACS that there’s no magic number for how far away we should be from each other. Six feet is better than up close, but the farther the better.

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