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The new type of face mask being used to protect against COVID-19 in South Korea


A new kind of face mask that allows wearers to keep their nose covered while eating and drinking is being used by diners in South Korea.
The mask, called ‘Kosk’, is intended to allow people to protect their nostrils from the threat of airborne viruses such as COVID-19 when they need to eat or drink.

The Kosk can be worn like a typical face mask, which cover both the nose and the mouth, but has the added feature that it can be folded up so that it sits only over the wearer’s nose.

The Kosk can be adjusted to only cover the nose. (Supplied)

The unusual type of mask, which has been designed by South Korean company Atman, has gone viral online and has received mixed responses.

The Kosk is for sale online from American-South Korean e-commerce company coupang, with a pack of 10 selling for the equivalent of around $11.42.

The product has received a five-star rating from 118 reviews on the website.

It has had varied responses on social media, with critics and skeptics commenting things like, “Is this a joke?”, and comparing the mask to “teapots made from chocolate”.

Others have welcomed the invention, saying they “love it”.

But what does an epidemiologist think?

Professor Catherine Bennett, Chair in Epidemiology within Deakin’s Institute for Health Transformation, commented the invention was a “strange idea”.

She said wearing the Kosk would be “better than nothing”, but that the wearer was of course still vulnerable to picking up the virus through their mouth.

The Kosk is sold by American-South Korean e-commerce company coupang. (Nine)

Professor Bennett said the Kosk might reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 for someone who breathed mainly through their nose, but that she would expect people eating and talking would be breathing through their mouth.

“It probably makes a marginal difference,” she said.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: A COVID-19 testing clinic sign at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on January 21, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. NSW has recorded 46 deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, marking the deadliest day in the state since the start of the pandemic. NSW also recorded 25,168 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hour reporting period. (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

Your COVID-19 questions answered

The professor noted the Kosk would likely stop the issue of people putting their masks in public places, but said it would likely also create the issue of people being less likely to remember to cover their mouths quickly after they finished eating.



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