In many places around the world, wearing a mask is imperative. Ever since the pandemic started, scientists and regular folks alike have been doing tests in hopes of figuring out if masks are effective, and how much they are effective.

Well, Vince Limbaring Dizon, (@vihannce08 on TikTok) recently came out with a very simple video showcasing the effectiveness of various masks. It wasn’t long until the video went viral on TikTok, and soon found its way onto Twitter, where it also drew some attention. Bored Panda got in touch with Vince for an interview.

By now, there’s a myriad of videos explaining the effectiveness of masks, but none as simple as this one

@vihannce08Understanding the differences of face mask. ##coronavirüs ##covid ##facemask ##mask ##fyp ##n95 ##coppermask ##zyxcba♬ Coronavirus Check – 7eer

So, Vince Limbaring Dizon, a Medical Technologist from Cebu, Philippines who makes TikTok videos to relieve stress and to spread positivity, recently posted a video where he tried out various face coverings and masks to see how effective they are at stopping a sudden rush of air coming from one’s mouth—like a cough for example. For this, he simply took a lighter, lit a flame, and blew at it to see if it got extinguished though the mask.

“I can’t help myself! If I see something I think is really helpful, cool, or innovative, I want to show it in hopes of educating people and raising awareness,” explained Vince the inspiration behind the video. “I’m overwhelmed that my own simple curiosity made an impact on everyone who’s seen my video.”

TikToker Vince Limbaring Dizon tested 6 different masks by doing a simple blow out the flame test

Image credits: Vince Limbaring Dizon

He used 6 different types of face coverings: a shirt, a homemade cloth mask, a surgical mask, two types of N95 masks, and a copper mask. As a control, he also performed the experiment without any mask.

As you might have expected by now, with each higher tier of face protection, less air was expelled through the covering itself. Blowing through a shirt and a homemade face cover seems to lead to pretty much the same result—the flame was extinguished immediately.

The test determined just how much air is expelled straight forward through the mask

Image credits: Vince Limbaring Dizon

The other masks, however, proved to be more effective in that regard. The surgical mask required more effort for air to be expelled through the mask itself. The flame seemed to be reacting to the gust of wind passing by, but it wasn’t enough for it to be extinguished.

The rest of the masks—the two N95s and the copper one—did even better. As Vince blew at the lighter flame, it didn’t react in any way, meaning that there were no air currents passing through. Hence, this would also mean that none of the nasty germs or viruses would reach it either.

Image credits: Vince Limbaring Dizon

Now, people on Twitter tested their own masks out with mixed results. Some called shenanigans on Vince’s test, showing how their masks are not as effective as Vince’s, but it is important to note that not all masks are created equal—some can be of poorer quality, some might have more or less layers and in the case of one video, some people might be blowing out the flame at a shorter distance than in the test.

“I think it depends on how they perform the test and the quality of the mask they use, where it is bought, and how it is manufactured. But yes, I’d say no one product fits all. Again, my intention is just to educate and create awareness,” elaborated Vince.

Face coverings ranged from shirts and simple cloth masks to surgical and N95 masks

Image credits: Vince Limbaring Dizon

For others, however, even cloth masks worked well. As discussed in another article by Bored Panda, where there was a tad bit more science involved in figuring out which masks are the best, masks are supposed to be used in combination with distancing, so even if you can blow out a flame within a foot’s distance, germs would still travel just that—one foot, and not the full 6 feet.

Also, note that viruses travel within droplets of moisture that are expelled as we breathe, cough, or sneeze. So it’s more important to make sure the droplets stay trapped in the mask by ensuring that the cloth or material used in the mask is good enough for trapping moisture—the mask itself can allow for some air to pass through.

He even used two types of N95s and a copper mask in his little experiment

Image credits: Vince Limbaring Dizon

In fact, air should be able to pass to some degree as a mask with too many layers might stop outward airflow through it, thus expelling the air through the sides and the top without any filtering whatsoever.

The video managed to get over 2.7 million plays on TikTok with over 363,300 likes in just one day. It also resurfaced on Twitter when the user @alysnbdn reshared it, garnering another 4.1 million views with another 371,000 likes and almost 200,000 retweets.

Vince’s video went viral immediately, getting over 2.7 million views on TikTok in just one day

Image credits: Vince Limbaring Dizon

Needless to say, Vince was rather surprised by the reception as he explained: “I’m very surprised, I did not expect my video to go viral! I only intended to show it to a few of my friends. But, I’m very grateful that it turned out fine and people are loving it.”

“There are a lot of things I wish all of us knew better before this pandemic and now. It’s not just about wearing a mask, hoarding up on toilet papers and disinfectants… I wish we knew better how to shine brightly for ourselves, to be able to help others and be a better human in every way,” concluded Vince.

Image credits: Vince Limbaring Dizon

The video soon found its way on Twitter, getting another 4.2M views

Others started testing their masks as well

If you want to see more from Vince, you can follow him on his TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter.

What are your thoughts on this? What type of mask are you using during the pandemic? Let us know in the comment section below!

Here are some reactions from people on the internet

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