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Are These Items Found in Medical Masks as Claimed?

Are These Items Found in Medical Masks as Claimed?

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A video shared on Twitter claims to show several items that are supposedly hidden in medical face masks which are commonly used amid efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The video purports to illustrate the items found in the medical masks by taking viewers through the process of cutting open the mask, removing a metallic strip found on one of the edges, then apparently shows items, among them a SIM card, a motherboard, camera, a phone, hard drive as well as a soldering gun, supposedly found when one cuts a mask open.

Background

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the wearing of masks to prevent those with COVID-19 from spreading the virus, and protect those not yet infected from contracting the virus. This has led governments across the world to introduce laws and penalties for failure to wear masks in public. According to a report by Aljazeera, more than 50 countries require people to wear masks in public.

However, mask-wearing has been met by conspiracy theories, with some claiming that the masks are fitted with 5G technology that is apparently either meant to allegedly control the population by killing people, apparently cause illness or allegedly aid in the tracking of people’s activities.

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WHO classifies masks into two types: medical masks and fabric masks. Medical masks, also known as surgical masks are the ones whose outer sides are blue in colour and white on the inside. They have a metal strip just like the one used on the video shared on Twitter. Fabric masks, on the other hand, vary in colour and are often made from material such as cotton or cloth. Fabric masks are not recognised as Personal Protective Equipment.

Verification

According to Thomas, an online repository on industry news and reports, surgical masks are made with non-woven fabric and weigh either 20 or 25 grams per square meter. This makes them lighter, while added weight from the objects the video on Twitter claims would be found in a surgical mask would make the mask heavier. Users’ ability to breathe, which is referred to as the breathing resistance (on the Thomas report) is also a key component in the making of surgical masks. Added objects like the hard drive and phone would hinder breathing.

Moreover, a WHO illustration demonstrates that the metal strip in surgical masks is meant to mould the mask to the shape of one’s nose, not to hold in objects as is shown in the video.

 

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