As the pandemic has progressed, neck gaiters have emerged as a popular facial covering in the quest to stop the spread of coronavirus. But a team of Duke University researchers warns that neck gaiters--as well as bandanas and N95 masks with exhalation valves--may not do much good at all. “Neck gaiters are extremely common in a lot of places because they’re very convenient to wear,” study co-author Warren S. Warren (yep, that's really his name) tells The Washington Post. “But the exact reason why they’re so convenient, which is that they don’t restrict air, is the reason why they’re not doing much of a job helping people." As for the N95 masks with the exhalation valve, he says, “Those relief valves are fantastic if what you want to do is protect yourself from the outside world because air doesn’t come in through them,” Warren said. “If what you’re trying to do in this pandemic is protect the outside world from you, it completely defeats the purpose.” So how do you know if your facial covering is ineffective? “If you can see through it when you put it up to a light and you can blow through it easily, it probably is not protecting anybody," says Warren.
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