Can A Mask Kill A Virus? A FactCheck

The World Health Organization has stated that masks are not fully effective against the recent outbreak of COVID-19

A recent tweet by Anand Mahindra, founder of Mahindra and Mahindra group of companies claiming a mask he had been gifted "destroys viruses" is false. His tweet was criticised by a few medical professionals as masks have not been proven to destroy any such viruses.

Mahindra in his tweet included a picture of the mask a - N95 - and thanked a friend for gifting it to him.

The ongoing hysteria around COVID-19, a Coronavirus strain that has impacted over 158 countries, has led to people actively hoarding masks and wearing them for regular use which are even inducing a sense of fear among people who are not currently wearing masks. The prices of the masks have also sky-rocketed. The World Health Organization has also stated that masks do not kill any viruses and should only be worn by people who are either exhibiting symptoms of the virus or are tending to the sick.

Mahindra found himself in the line of crossfire as his tweet stated that these reusable, washable masks had the ability to "destroy viruses." These masks are being made by a company called Livinguard whose board member Ashok Kurien gifted this "anti-pollution" N95 mask to Mahindra.

Mahindra received backlash as Twitter users requested him to not promote news which was not scientifically backed.

Also Read: No, Cristiano Ronaldo's Hotels Will Not Be Turned Into Hospitals For Coronavirus Patients

Fact Check

Mahindra's claim that masks kill viruses has no scientific backing. The primary role of masks is to not allow microbial particles to pass through the filter designed in the masks, according to the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention, United States of America

BOOM also looked up the mask gifted to Mahindra and found that it is a N95 mask made by Livinguard. The company makes masks for protection against air pollution and are useful for protecting against the polluting agents as they are made according to the size of the particles in the air.

The website clearly mentions that they work on bacteria and fungi thriving on filters but do not mention viruses.


In their medical textiles, the company makes scrubs and clothing but does not specifically mention masks.

What Does The WHO Say?

The World Health Organization has stated that healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if they are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection. People coughing or sneezing should wear a mask. There is no proof that masks kill the virus.

WHO also further stated that wearing masks would only be effective if used along with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. The WHO also emphasized that people wearing masks should also know how to wear and dispose one.


COVID-19 is transmitted through the droplet mode of transmission which rest on surfaces. If an unhealthy person, not wearing a mask, sneezes or coughs in one's vicinity, the droplets could even settle on the mask of a person wearing one. If the person then touches the mask and later touches their face, there is a possibility of the virus spreading to the person.

Many media organizations have reported about how the prices of masks have escalated due to people buying many masks. Economic Times reported that people claimed surgical masks which usually sell for Rs 10 were being sold for Rs 40 or higher, and N95 masks which sell for around Rs 150 were being sold for up to Rs 500. People have also been hoarding masks and sanitisers.

The Government of India even added face masks and sanitizers to its list of essential items to control its burgeoning prices, as reported by PTI.

Also Read: Did India Start Screening Passengers For Coronavirus Since Mid-January?


Updated On: 2020-03-17T09:57:18+05:30
Claim Review :  N95 masks will kill virus
Claimed By :  Anand Mahindra
Fact Check :  False
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