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If You Thought the Mask Fiends Couldn't Get Any More Ridiculous, You'd Be Wrong

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Just when you thought the mask fiends couldn't possibly find a way to get more ridiculous, they have. 

As a reminder, we've gone from masks don't work to being told that masks are effective, to the likes of Dr. Anthony Fauci telling us doubling masking is "common sense," to calls for tripling up. 

Now, scientists from Cambridge University have come out with a study looking at ways to cover those gaps in KN95 and surgical masks that always posed efficacy problems. It involves wearing pantyhose on your head. No, seriously. 

In the peer-reviewed study, researchers assessed seven "fit hacks" to determine whether they improved mask performance. 

  • Tape: The edges of the mask are sealed with cloth tape. Care was taken to mould the tape to the face and to seal any gaps between the skin and the edge of the mask.
  • Stuffed Gaps: First aid gauze was used to fill visible gaps in the mask, until no visible space between skin and mask remained.
  • Mummy: A roll of first-aid gauze was used to tightly bind the mask to the face, pressing the edges of the mask to the skin of the face.
  • Pantyhose: Two brands of pantyhose were separately placed over the head to press the mask into place, a method first proposed and tested by Mueller et al. [2].
  • Knotting Ear Loops: To make a large mask fit a smaller face, an overhand knot was made of the ear loop elastic near the mask. This hack gained media attention when dentist Dr. Olivia Cui posted a video of herself performing the hack on TikTok [3].
  • Rubber Bands: In a hack proposed by Apple engineers, three rubber bands are used to create a ‘brace’ [15].

The pantyhose "hack" turned out to be the most effective, but the researchers determined something anyone with an ounce of common sense could've told them from the beginning: in addition to being ridiculous, it's also "very uncomfortable" and therefore "unlikely to be tolerated for extended periods of time." 



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