While neck gaiters may feel more convenient than traditional protective masks, a new study claims wearing them may be worse than wearing nothing at all.
The study by Duke University professors found the thinner gaiters break up moisture droplets into several tiny ones, allowing them to remain airborne for longer periods of time.
Study co-author Warren S. Warren, a professor of physics, chemistry, radiology and biomedical engineering at Duke explains:
"These neck gaiters are extremely common in a lot of places because they’re very convenient to wear. 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."
Other types of face coverings that may fall into the semi-useless category are bandanas, knitted masks and N95 masks with an exhalation valve.
The study also looked at what was most effective and to no surprise, a fitted N95 mask, which is commonly worn by hospital workers was the winner.
Coming in a close second were common cotton cloth masks, preferably with three layers of fabric.