As people worry about current COVID-19 outbreaks around the world, a three-year-old graphic illustrating the effectiveness of wearing a mask with facial hair has begun to spread across social media and appear on at least one late-night comedy show. Which mustache is right for you.
In November 2017 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted a story about campaigns like No-Shave November and Movember, which are great, but if you need to wear a mask for your job, the agency warned that the mask’s effectiveness is compromised by facial hair.
A graphic that accompanied the post listed 36 versions of facial hair, from clean-shaved (great for masks) to various mustache and beard styles, and rated them good or bad for masks.
Styles like the soul patch, pencil and Zorro get a green checkmark for being good for masks and respirators, while full beard, French fork and Van Dyke styles, get a red “X” indicating they would interfere. Basically most mustache styles are OK for masks, while beards get in the way. Horseshoe and villain styles fall in-between.
The CDC does not recommend for anyone who is well to wear a mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. But they do suggest masks for people who are showing symptoms of the disease.
COVID-19 is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that’s a close cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past.
How to get a good moustache
The graphic was picked up by “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” that shared a skit featuring the fictional American Association of Evil Villains sharing a message about facial hair and masks.
Frank Carnevale is a Tribune-Review digital producer. You can contact Frank via Twitter.
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