LUBBOCK, Texas — COVID-19 is continuing to evolve, which means prevention measures must evolve with it. With the constant need for masks, surgical and N95 respirators are in short supply.
The Centers for Disease Control now recommends cloth alternatives to surgical and respirator masks.
Scarborough Specialties Inc. has taken matters into their own hands by producing cloth face masks.
“Something is better than nothing, to get something on peoples faces and help protect them from coughing and sneezing and whatever it is,” CEO Jay Jacobus said. “Its is not going to be as good [as a respirator], but has definitely proven to give some level of protection.”
This protection is not only for yourself but for others as well. According to Seshadri Ramkumar, Ph.D., a Texas Tech Professor of Chemical Countermeasures and Advanced Materials, the chances of protection from infection increases with a barrier.
“The two major theories are fibrous, fine particles either travel as an aerosol, depending on the size and the load, and if they are a heavier size they go as a droplet and settle,” he said. “So it’s airborne, predominantly. Your chances of protecting yourself and others is far better if you have an barrier.”
To magnify this barrier, Ramkumar created a filter in collaboration with Scarborough. This filter consists of a non-woven cotton insert that enhances the effectiveness of cloth masks.
“It’s a cotton filtrate, substrate material that is really more like a raw type of cotton.” Jacobus said. “We figured a way to integrate that as a filter into our other mask that we were making, and it’s been a great opportunity to give a whole different layer of filtration.”
They both said that the filter isn’t meant to replace surgical masks, but instead add an extra shield of protection against the virus when used with cloth face coverings.