By Jessica Hamzelou

A man wears a mask near Wuhan, ChinaStringer/GettyFace masks are reportedly selling out in cities across Asia as concerns over the spread of a deadly new coronavirus grow. China’s National Health Commission has deployed masks to healthcare workers responding to the outbreak, and millions of masks have been sent to residents of Wuhan, according to reports. But will these masks stop people from catching the virus?
We know the virus is airborne, and that it can be transmitted between people. Researchers believe that the virus may have made the jump from animals to people via the inhalation of airborne particles in a seafood market that sold live wild animals. So it makes sense to cover your nose and mouth.
There are two main types of face masks that are being used to do that. One is a standard surgical mask – the kind worn by surgeons during operations. These masks are…



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