Surgical masks are generally more protective than cloth masks,

I’m looking for data to show that clear face masks that are surrounded by cloth (ie, think donut holes in cloth mask is clear plastic) is equal or better to cloth masks or surgical masks. I don’t think the study has been done. I know some professors that are choosing to use these types of clear face masks as a way to allow students to see their facial expression when they give lectures. 

However, most of the date I could find shows the full clear face mask (ie the one that is open at bottom or not surrounded by cloth) are not as good as cloth masks and of course not as good as N95 masks.

Also: More data is starting to come out that yes the N 95 mask is the best mask to prevent Covid but the decrease in oxygen to the brain is a concern. No studies have been done obviously a long term affects of using and 95 masks on the risk of dementia or the risk of long-term angiogenesis which occurs because of a lack of oxygen in the body in some situations. More data is starting to come out that yes the N 95 mask is the best mask to prevent Covid but the decrease in oxygen to the brain is a concern. No studies have been done on the long term affects of using and 95 masks on the risk of dementia or the risk of long-term angiogenesis, which occurs because of a lack of oxygen in the body in some situations. 

No one wants to discourage people from using face masks so this has not been discussed in the literature. However I highly recommend most people take breaks as much as possible from using the N 95 mask to allow some safe breathing of oxygen either in certain safe locations in a hospital or office setting. 

Below are more references and the quote in the title noting that surgical masks are better than cloth masks


Surgical masks are generally more protective than cloth masks,


BMJ Publishing Group

Facial protection for healthcare workers during pandemics: a scoping review

Laura R Garcia Godoy, Amy E Jones, […], and Peter D Sullivan

Additional article information

Associated Data

Supplementary Materials
Data Availability Statement



The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages, requiring mask reuse or improvisation. We provide a review of medical-grade facial protection (surgical masks, N95 respirators and face shields) for healthcare workers, the safety and efficacy of decontamination methods, and the utility of alternative strategies in emergency shortages or resource-scarce settings.


We conducted a scoping review of PubMed and grey literature related to facial protection and potential adaptation strategies in the setting of PPE shortages (January 2000 to March 2020). Limitations included few COVID-19-specific studies and exclusion of non-English language articles. We conducted a narrative synthesis of the evidence based on relevant healthcare settings to increase practical utility in decision-making.


We retrieved 5462 peer-reviewed articles and 41 grey literature records. In total, we included 67 records which met inclusion criteria. Compared with surgical masks, N95 respirators perform better in laboratory testing, may provide superior protection in inpatient settings and perform equivalently in outpatient settings. Surgical mask and N95 respirator conservation strategies include extended use, reuse or decontamination, but these strategies may result in inferior protection. Limited evidence suggests that reused and improvised masks should be used when medical-grade protection is unavailable.


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to critical shortages of medical-grade PPE. Alternative forms of facial protection offer inferior protection. More robust evidence is required on different types of medical-grade facial protection. As research on COVID-19 advances, investigators should continue to examine the impact on alternatives of medical-grade facial protection.


Generally, there are three different types of disposable masks available: single-use face masks, surgical masks, and respiratory masks.

Single-use face masks, which are typically thin and consist of only one layer, are only capable of filtering rather larger particles (3 μm). Surgical masks are generally more effective than single-use face masks in filtering virus-sized particles. A medical or surgical mask may be sufficient to prevent droplet transfer, while a respirator mask is required for airborne infection. However, the exact filtration characteristics of surgical masks are rather variable and depend on the layers used.

Most of the health-care workers currently use surgical masks to protect themselves against pathogens spread by droplet transmission such as COVID-19. Although it is well established that these provide insufficient protection against airborne transmission, there is conflicting evidence from a systematic review by Leung et al., which found that surgical masks can efficaciously reduce coronavirus detection and viral copies in large respiratory droplets and in aerosols [21]. However, this only suggests that it could be used by COVID-19-positive patients to limit further COVID-19 transmission. Clearly, this study has no relevance for OR staff protection [21].

The general consensus among surgeons is that conventional surgical masks do not offer protection against high-risk AGPs. Multiple surgical masks also fail to filter virus loaded particles. They should not be used as a substitute for respirator masks unless there is no alternative and the compromise for a lower level protection is made due to lack of availability [21314].

For protection against airborne transmission, air-purifying respirator masks should be used. Respirator masks generally filter more smaller sized particles (0.3 μm) than surgical masks. The European Standard (EN 149:2001) classifies respirator masks into three different categories: filtering facepiece 1 (FFP1), FFP2, and FFP3. FFP2 is comparable to US standard N95 [20]. The filtration effectiveness of different masks is presented in Table Table33.

Table 3

European and US standards for masks used for PPE

In comparison to surgical masks, respirator masks show protection factors 11.5–15.9 times greater than those of surgical masks [20]. In addition to the type of masks used, the fitting and sizing of the mask is of utmost importance. Only a perfect-sized and well-fitted mask leads to efficient sealing of the respiratory tract. Intact masks can be worn for up to 8 h continuously [20].

Powered air-purifying respirators [11] were mainly used during the SARS outbreak for health-care personnel involved in high-risk invasive procedures or AGPs. These respirators in the form of a hood or a full-face mask consist of a motor-driven fan guiding the possibly contaminated air towards a filter, which then actively filters it and finally delivers the clean air to the user’s face and/or mouth.

A recent systematic review of four randomised controlled trials by Bartoszko et al. compared medical masks to N95 respirator masks in their efficacy to prevent coronavirus in health-care workers [7]. The authors found and concluded that low certainty evidence exists that medical masks and N95 respirators offer similar protection against viral respiratory infection including coronavirus in health-care workers during non-aerosol-generating care [7].



Powered air-purifying respirators

3M Versaflo Easy Clean PAPR Kit TR-300N+ ECK 1 EA/Case

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