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Report: MIT Testing Finds Many Face Masks Distributed By State Deficient

An N95 mask (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
An N95 mask (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Many of the protective face masks distributed by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency in the battle against the coronavirus were deficient, according to a published report.

The state last week began notifying police departments, nursing homes, and other recipients that recent tests by Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists revealed that some of the masks provide little protection, The Boston Globe reported Thursday.

While the tests showed some of the masks filtered out more than 90% of airborne particles, none performed as well as the U.S. industry standard N95 mask, which filters out at least 95% of airborne particles, according to the publicly posted results.

One type of mask distributed by the state filtered only about 28% of airborne particles, according to the results.

According to state data, all of the respirator masks distributed to public safety entities were from China and flown to the U.S. on the New England Patriots plane in early April.

The MIT tests were performed on all China-made masks, said Sharon Torgerson, a spokeswoman for the state’s COVID-19 Response Command Center.

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