An infographic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows how different styles of beards can stop face masks and respirators from working, thereby exposing people to the deadly coronavirus.
The chart was initially released in 2017, but has resurfaced after a top CDC official warned that it’s no longer “a question of if…but when” coronavirus will spread in the US.
The infographic shows that certain types of beard will not allow face masks fit properly and this could increase the person’s likelihood of contracting the virus.
Being clean shaven or having side whiskers, soul patches and handlebar moustaches will allow the face mask to fit properly. However lengthier styles such as the Fu Manchu tashe, mutton chops, beards and even stubble are not recommended because they would likely interfere with seal, allowing air particles to slip in.
The chart was published to tell people what facial hair works with tight-fitting masks. The CDC says you don’t need to wear a respirator if you are already healthy. However it is “crucial” for medics and anyone displaying the flu-like symptoms.
A goatee, horseshoe and villain moustache are fine with caution but the hair should not cross the respirator’s sealing surface, according to the poster.
Facial hair styles that may present a problem include chin curtains, extended goatees, circle beards, hulihee, French fork and ducktail. Most moustaches with varying degrees of flare are acceptable – including the walrus, the toothbrush and the Zorro.
After the infographic poster did the rounds on social media, NHS staff at Southampton General Hospital were urged to shave as an infection control measure. Hospital chiefs sent an email which included the infographic, but said those who have beards for religious or cultural reasons are exempt from the ban.
Below are photos of the beards that may not properly fit into a mask, thereby exposing you to the virus, and the ones considered safe. Those considered safe are marked in green while those beard styles that increase your likelihood of being exposed to the virus are crossed in red.