The best masks available to healthcare workers to combat aerosol viruses, like COVID-19, are N95 surgical respirators. The problem is that current respirators on the market today do not provide a good seal between the respirator and the face. These respirators were not properly designed for a diverse group of healthcare workers with different facial structures.
In a pandemic, it becomes critical that healthcare professionals can care for patients and do not, themselves, become infected. Yet, today a significant percentage of doctors and nurses – as much as 30% – cannot pass the OSHA fit test, which ensures an airtight fit between the respirator and the face. Healthcare workers who do not have a proper fit can be dangerously exposed to an aerosol virus, such as COVID-19, as the virus can enter through the sides of the respirator.