Study finds neck gaiters ineffective as COVID-19 face masks

Talon Smith, Editor-in-Chief

Neck gaiters or buffs like those pictured on Geoff Livingston and his wife were found to be largely ineffective according to a Duke University study published on September 2, 2020. Gaiters were rated as worse than wearing no mask. (Geoff Livingston/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A Duke University study found neck gaiters to be ineffective at blocking the spread of COVID-19; however, other factors are at play.

The study measured the amount of liquid droplets emitted during speech, through which COVID-19 can spread, and compared them to determine efficiency.

Neck gaiters were rated after the no mask group, having a larger transmission of droplets recorded.

The study reportedly began a controversy over this fact, according to The Washington Post.

Researchers behind the Duke University study told CNET they could not say if all types of neck gaiters were equally ineffective. Their study was only intended to showcase an easy to replicate, low-cost, preliminary experiment.

The Duke University Study only tested a neck gaiter made from a thin polyester fleece that had a single layer.

The material of the neck gaiter is what matters most, doctor of immunology Mitchell Grayson told Healthline. The Healthline article goes on to recommend layered coverings made from materials such as cotton, which have less space between the fabrics.