Cotton, wool, silk: fabric used for face masks ‘not important’
Tuesday, 28 April 2020
What fabric a face mask is made from is not important, as long as the tissue is dense enough to stop as many drops as possible, the Federal Public Health Service said during its daily press briefing on Tuesday.
Many cities and municipalities are participating in initiatives to create their own face masks, as the National Security Council announced on Friday that wearing one will become mandatory in certain places from 4 May.
Most masks were made from cotton, based on the model the Public Health Service provided on the makefacemasks.com website, but the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG) asked the authorities if masks made from natural fibres such as cotton, wool or silk would offer sufficient protection against the new coronavirus (Covid-19), reported De Tijd on Tuesday morning.
“The fabric is not important. The tissue must be sufficiently dense so that it can stop as many drops as possible, that is the most important thing,” clarified virologist and inter-federal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht during the press conference later on Tuesday.
“At the same time, it must also allow for comfortable breathing. It is this balance between tissue density and still allowing smooth breathing that needs to be monitored,” he added.
The masks can be made from cotton, or any other fabric, as long as the fabric is dense enough, according to Van Gucht. “It is also important that the fabric can be washed at a high temperature, at least 60 degrees, so that we can kill the virus. That is also crucial,” he said.
Additionally, the authorities recommend working with two layers of fabric. Between those layers, a filter could also be placed.