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Face Mask Calculator reveals cost of staying safe

By Chris Dawson July 15, 2020 - 5:10 pm

If you are living in the UK then the likelihood is that sooner or later you’ll enter a shop or step onto public transport and be required to wear a face mask or face covering.

Depending which of the four UK countries you live in will depend what specification of face mask you will need – in some areas it’s a face covering which can be as simple as pulling a scarf across your face and in other areas it can be a three layer face mask (as specified by Mark Drakeford on public transport in Wales from the 27th of July). A three layer face mask is pretty much surgical quality and classed as PPE.

Face Mask Calculator

Coronavirus Mask Calculator


What no one has really figured out thus far, is what it’s going to cost you as a consumer to purchase face masks.

What’s more interesting is the potential sales opportunity for those selling face masks.

Now, Dominika Miszewska , a student at the Medical University of Warsaw along with Maria Kluziak have created a Face Mask Calculator that shows how long any particular mask lasts for, and how many you need over a given period of time. You can find out more about the project on their site.

The numbers add up fast – taking a typical pack of 10 disposable face masks on eBay costing £6.68, if you wear it for a daily commute of two hours, then at four hours a day over a three month period the Face Mask Calculator reveals a cost of £146.40.

Alternatively, if you were to purchase cloth face masks such as this one on eBay costing £3.95, over the same three month period your costs would shrink to just £19.75.

For those operating a business and needing to supply masks to your employees, the numbers revealed by the Face Mask Calculator are sobering. When you consider that disposable masks are recommended to be changed every 2 hours meaning four are required per person per shift, just for one employee over the next three months your costs will be in the region of £219.60. Multiple that by five employees and you are facing a bill for over a grand and that doesn’t include other precautions such as hand sanitiser, surface cleaner for an increased cleaning routine, and potential screens between work spaces.

Of course if you are buying for a business, you can probably negotiate better prices for larger quantity purchases, but all this adds up to a multi million pound opportunity for merchants selling face masks on marketplaces or their own websites.

  • SAM
    4 weeks ago

    I have had them for months. You can make your own easy enough also. I have cloth ones for entering store etc and in loading bays and certain drops. Keep the surgical ones aside in case I have to go into an old folk home or something.
    I tell you one thing the surgical ones are murder to breath with if your doing anything physical.
    They are also available in all the shops up here, some are reasonable but some chemists mainly are just ripping the old people off charging £4 for a disposal.

  • Peter
    4 weeks ago

    The reason for wearing a mask is to stop others getting Covid should you happen to be asymptomatic without knowing it. This means you don’t need a new mask every day so the Calculator is pretty much pointless.

    • 4 weeks ago

      You have a point if you are using a cloth face covering, but advice is still to change it regularly throughout the day and to wash at 60 degrees before you re-wear it.

      If you are using disposable face coverings you certainly don’t want to re-wear them! Advice is to change them every two hours and then the cost really starts to rack up.

      If you are supplying masks for staff, it’s very unlikely you’ll be washing them and so the cost of disposable masks will become important as they start to rack up.

  • Peter
    4 weeks ago

    I doubt people going shopping will need a new mask every day. In an office where social distancing is achievable you will not need a new mask every day unless it falls apart.

    Washable masks can be used all week if you don’t touch things anyone else will be touching.

    If you wear a mask for 5 mins… touch the mask with your hands then use someone else’s stapler they will get infected.

    When I was in Hospital at the beginning of the pandemic many doctors and nurses were wearing their own masks. Not standard PPE. One cleaner had a full gas mask on. It should be more about containment than personal protection.

    There are some good arguments for not wearing a mask. Keeping up a good immune system for instance.

    Why do we need a new mask every two hours if we are working in an office?

    • 4 weeks ago

      UK advice is masks are specifically not helpful in the office. They are only useful in cases of transitory near social contact. In the office you will be so close for an extended period of time if some has the virus you’ll catch it with our without a mask.

      Where you might need them is warehouse type settings for instance with deliveries arriving and leaving and where people aren’t generally in close proximity but do pass by. Plus of course public transport, shops etc

  • Peter
    4 weeks ago

    So UK advice is… do wear a mask in situations where you are less likely to meet people in close quarters and do also wear a mask if you are working with people in close quarters even though it’s not effective and a total a waste of time and money. If they don’t work in close quarters what’s the point wearing one let along changing it every two hours?

  • The courier
    3 weeks ago

    Masks are the best thing to ever happen to our bank balance 🙂

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