Over the last couple of weeks, you've probably seen a headline that somehow declares that neck gaiter face masks don't work in preventing COVID-19 transmission. Some of them went as far as say that wearing the neck gaiter mask is "worse than no mask at all". But all of these stories and headlines are grossly misleading.

In fact, the "study" they're mischaracterizing only involved a single person.

That's not a study that should draw those kind of headlines. It's barely a study that would get a passing grade at a science fair.

But don't blame the guy who did the "study", even he says these stories and headlines are "out of control". The "consumer" type research he was working on was very informal, and based on testing masks against one another, not whether or not they worked. In fact, Science News reported that the man conducting the test said the experiment:

“should serve only as a demonstration. Inter-subject variations are to be expected, for example due to differences in physiology, mask fit, head position, speech pattern and such.”

Beyond the issues of sample size in the experiment, there are countless other variables. Including the way a person wears the mask, the thickness, the environment, among others. Additionally, simply tracking water droplets during talking might not be the best method to monitor transmission potential with masks.

But this should highlight a much larger problem in dealing with COVID-19...the media coverage.

Multiple outlets have bent over backwards to the latest "hysteria" headline, without regard for the actual science behind it. Sometimes though, it's not the media's fault entirely. Because earlier this year, during the first months of the pandemic, medical professionals themselves were misleading the media about the effectiveness of masks. Including this long piece from Good Morning America.