Technical Innovation of Masks and Face Coverings 2020
Masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) are essential in reducing disease transmission, but the market for effective masks is limited to very few options using only tried and true technologies. As the pandemic unfolds, there have been erratic deficits in the availability of personal protective equipment due to national and global supply chains not being prepared to meet rising demand.
One of these industry standard options is respirator masks, like the N95, which are suggested for frontline healthcare workers to protect them from infection. Due to supply chain limits, the public has been asked to refrain from using and purchasing N95 and surgical masks. Healthcare workers have also been forced to reuse vital PPE. However, supply chains have been stretched to the limit necessitating over use or creative methods for protection and disinfection.
Cloth face coverings have been adopted by the public due to their availability and reuse potential, but must be coupled with strict physical distancing, mask-disinfection, and hand-washing practices to decrease chance of disease transmission. If used or disinfected improperly, these masks provide less optimal protection.
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It is obvious that there is a need to employ emerging technologies, materials, and other innovations to improve the functionality of masks. We’re asking the community to weigh in on what some of these innovations could be. For more information, please visit the “details” page.