NEWS RELEASE                                                                                     August 2020

High Efficiency Mask Market and Proactive Program for Suppliers

Evidence is growing that highly efficient rather than cloth masks will be needed to vanquish COVID.  A proactive program by mask and media suppliers would greatly reduce COVID and  generate very large revenues for suppliers of media and masks.


McIlvaine is providing enough information in the daily alerts and analysis that it is possible to determine the justifiable investment in a specific type of mask in a specific location and activity and determine the risk reduction. Many influencers and purchasers do not differentiate between masks and are therefore not investing in the right products to reduce their risk to levels they believe acceptable.

As a result the market for efficient masks is much smaller than it will be when buyers and influencers are presented  with reliable cost/benefit information. There is the opportunity for the suppliers to greatly increase sales by joining in a program to

  • Ascertain reliable cost/benefit information for every application in every country for each type of individual
  • Communicate that information to the influencers and decision makers with webinars, magazine articles, and white papers
  • Receive market forecasts for the thousands of individual opportunities with an understanding of competitive advantages and disadvantages

A  preliminary cost-benefit analysis for COVID PPE  was  prepared and discussed in one of our early webinars.

This shows that the cost of treatment for those hospitalized with COVID can exceed $1 million if ventilators are needed. But this is a minor cost compared to the associated costs such as those who are sick but not hospitalized.  It does not take into account the pain and suffering of family members and the loss of productivity in the economy.

On the other hand wearing an efficient mask is uncomfortable compared to no mask or to a cloth mask. Breathability is a challenge with a tight fitting efficient mask.   It is hard to communicate when the faces of speakers are not visible. It is not possible to drink or eat when wearing a mask. High efficiency masks cost more than cloth masks.

Cost/Benefits of Efficient Masks


The cost/benefits of efficient masks vs other technologies need to be evaluated.  With a highly efficient mask social distancing can be reduced. So the two have to be compared.

Cost/benefits of Alternative Technologies Compared to a Specific Mask Design


The costs and benefits involve assessment of life quality. Some years ago a major supplier of surgical gowns contracted with Mcilvaine to determine the costs/ benefits of single use vs reusable surgical gowns. There was no good metric to measure the harm and good of each alternative. Therefore a new metric based on quality enhanced life days was created. This metric will be very valuable in comparing the costs/benefits of  efficient masks to vanquish COVID. The concept was covered by a hospital magazine and is displayed at

Quality Enhanced Life Days ~ A New Metric for Hospital ...  

People do not live their lives to maximize the length. They live to enjoy quality time even at the expense of longevity.  Individuals who donate kidneys or fall on grenades to save comrades are proud and extreme examples of decisions to choose quality over quantity. Every day we make many quality choices. In fact every minute we spend in an automobile statistically reduces our life by 20 seconds. So if we drive 2 hours for some form of entertainment, we are indicating that we would be willing to sacrifice 40 seconds of life for that enhancement. Sustainability therefore should be about assuring future opportunities for life quality as well as quantity .Success is best measured by a  metric called Quality Enhanced Life Days (QELD).

The costs and benefits are affected by the following parameters


Evaluations are made of respirators as an alternative to masks. It is interesting that a hospital chain has selected the MSA respirator for its personnel. There is also an  evaluation of valved masks as an alternative for those who have respiratory problems.

The forecasts assume a flexible approach similar to that in China where mask wearing is tied to the daily air pollution index. The use of masks to battle COVID will show higher benefits related to costs when the case rate in an area is high and rising.

It will depend upon the space. An N99 mask might be justified on the subway but an 95 mask in the office and an N70 mask in the park at lunch. (Masks not in use can be stored in a case the size of a large purse with UV disinfection).

Continually updated forecasts will be provided for 80 countries and sub regions x 8 years x 4 mask types x  both media and finished filters x 4 efficiencies x 10 applications = 204,800 forecasts.

 Mask Forecast by Type ($ Millions)


 Mask Forecast by Scope ($ Millions)


Mask Forecast by Country ($ Millions)


The logical segmentation of mask type is by efficiency and not whether it has to be manufactured in a sterile environment or which government agency has a standard. It is likely that standards will change when the aerosol generation factor is included.

Mask Forecast by efficiency  ($ Millions)


There is a big difference between loose fitting masks and tight-fitting respirators.  One is not designed to protect the individual while the other is. Both types can use meltblowns and efficient media. There needs to be further definition of masks/respirators for personal protection in normal daily activities.  In general an N70 respirator rather than a loose fitting mask should be the default choice       

Mask Forecast by Design ($ Millions)


 All masks by definition are for individuals.  An individual should not wear the same efficiency mask for all occasions. Therefore the market should be analyzed in terms of applications.

(Mask Forecast by Applications $ Millions)


There is continuous assessment of mask alternatives in the Alerts. We are also reporting on the many meltblown products which rely on meltblown polypropylene sandwiched between two spun bond layers. Generally there is an extra charging step. This product is in short supply. Here are some newer options. Details are shown in the Alerts.  The products are listed chronologically with the most recent articles first. They can also be accessed by any keyword.


For more information on the High Efficiency Mask Market and Proactive Program for Suppliers contact Bob McIlvaine at 847 226 2391 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

NEWS RELEASE                                                                                     July 2020

Proactive HVAC Suppliers can Boost Revenues by $60 Billion

2019 HVAC revenues were $300 billion.  2020 revenues are down due to the impact of COVID.  With a reactive HVAC program revenues could slump to $290 billion in 2021. With a proactive program to increase air changes per hour in combination with other techniques revenues would increase to $360 billion in 2021.


It is recommended that homes receive 0.35 air changes per hour (ACH) but not less than 15 cubic feet of air per minute (cfm) per person.  Isolation rooms in hospitals utilize 6 air changes per hour. Recommended ACH for malls is 6 to 10 and 4 to 10 for municipal buildings.

In a mall setting the recommended air changes per hour will be a function of the number of emitters and their viral load, the mask type worn by the emitters, the efficiency of the HVAC filters, the dilution which is a function of air changes per hour, and the masks worn by the recipient. Masks can make a 90% reduction at very low cost. Increasing filter efficiency can result in another 90% reduction. Dilution can cause a 99.9% reduction or more but the cost is very substantial.


Viral Particle Discharge from Sequential Removal Devices

An ACH increase is only effective if the air flow patterns are beneficial. This means ductwork changes and other investments.

The greatest ROI is in the masks. There is a high ROI in the HVAC filter upgrades. Dilution through increasing the ACH is the most expensive. In the above example if the emitter is wearing an N30 mask the virus load entering the HVAC will be 1.4 million.  Even with  a 95% efficient filter the discharge would be 70,000 viral particles. To reduce that to 5 would require a dilution rate of 14,000 or 14 times as much as if the high efficiency mask is used.

Another consideration is the amount of outdoor air utilized.  Some infiltration of outdoor air is needed to keep CO2 levels lower than 1000 ppm and closer to the 480 ppm which is the average for ambient air.

The quality of outdoor air must be considered. An individual will inhale and exhale 7.8 million 0.1 micron or larger particles every minute in standard air. If the equivalent of a MERV 16 filter is installed in the HVAC the individual will inhale a few hundred thousand particles per minute.  The loading on the filter will be a function of the particulate concentration in the outdoor air and particulate generated in the space. On the average day in Delhi, India the individual will inhale 178 million particles larger than 0.1 micron each minute.

The COVID load in the outdoor air may not be zero but in most cases it can be assumed to be so low as not to be a consideration.


The ROI for the investment in HVAC should take into account the removal of air pollutants along with COVID. In Beijing, Delhi, and other polluted cities the investment can be justified just on the improvement in air quality.

The temperature and humidity of outdoor air also impact the cost of infiltrating outdoor air. In the summer in the Southern U.S., the cost of treating outside air is substantial.

The 2019 market for HVAC worldwide was $300 billion. A proactive COVID mitigation program could increase sales to $360 billion in 2021 versus $290 billion with a reactive program and a virus which disrupts the economy for several more years.

The proactive program, Coronavirus Technology Solutions is explained at

Bob McIlvaine can answer your questions at 847 226 2391.

NEWS RELEASE                                                                                     July 2020

Are Cloth Masks Aerosol Generators?

The advice to use a mask to fight COVID is like saying use a knife for surgery. Who cares whether it is a butcher knife of a high quality scalpel? In both cases life hangs in the balance of the product choice.

Most everyone now agrees that a mask is a major weapon in the COVID battle. It is therefore imperative that we use the right product. It can be argued that efficient masks will save seven times as many lives as inefficient masks. This important theory will be reviewed continually in the Coronavirus Technology Solutions daily alerts and will be one of the subjects discussed in our August 20 webinar.

There is now a mountain of evidence that a significant quantity of the COVID-19 virus travels through the air in small aerosols. A cloth mask will allow most of these particles to pass through.  An N95 Mask will capture 95% or more of them. One commonly stated estimate is that coughs and sneezing are responsible for 60% of the transmission, contact 20% and aerosols 20%.

The main benefit of a cloth mask is that it will theoretically prevent the 60% transmitted by coughing or sneezing larger droplets. What if this is not true and instead the cloth mask acts as an efficient aerosol generator converting large droplets on the mask interior into small droplets discharged into the atmosphere?

There are many studies documenting how a large droplet evaporates and creates small droplets.  However, a droplet on the interior of a mask is ideally situated to be converted to aerosols by the passing of air around or through it. One of the air pollution control scrubber designs uses a screen. Droplets containing surfactants are sprayed on the back of the screen. Dirty air then moves through the screen forming small bubbles. Could this be what happens to cough and sneeze droplets?

Investigators with the Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea. published a  research letter, in the Annals of Internal Medicine, analyzing the virus emission during coughing while wearing a surgical or cloth mask.  The paper was later retracted due to questions about the mathematics but some of the findings are important in answering the question as to whether a cloth mask can be an aerosol generator.

The research letter states. “All swabs from the outer mask surfaces of the masks were positive for SARS–CoV-2, whereas most swabs from the inner mask surfaces were negative.”

The research letter investigators found greater contamination on the outer surface of the face masks than on the inner surfaces. 

“Although it is possible that virus particles may cross from the inner to the outer surface because of the physical pressure of swabbing, we swabbed the outer surface before the inner surface,” the research letter states. “The consistent finding of virus on the outer mask surface is unlikely to have been caused by experimental error or artifact.”

If some virus moves from the inner to outer surface it stands to reason that some quantity traveled from the inner surface into the ambient air. There is no doubt that water vapor from the droplet moves through the mask. Why wouldn’t the virus move through along with it?

There are many experts  better qualified to answer these questions than is the McIlvaine Company. But there is enough evidence of aerosol generation from cloth masks that answers are necessary.

If cloth masks are aerosol generators they are relatively ineffective in fighting COVID. They allow 80% of the virus to be transmitted where N95 allows 12%.



The assumption Is that both transmitter and recipient are wearing the same mask type. So in the case of the N95 mask there would be less escaping virus to contaminate surfaces. This should result in a 50% decrease in contact transmission. The difference in numbers of infections would be reduced seven fold as compared to cloth masks. The number of deaths reduced could even be greater. Evidence indicates that aerosols  penetrate the lungs and cause more serious damage than do viruses in the nasal passages.

We expect a lively debate on this subject during our August 20 webinar.  We invite anyone to send opinions or evidence in advance and to participate in the webinar.  Details are found at:

Bob McIlvaine can answer your questions at 847 226 2391 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

NEWS RELEASE                                                                                     July 2020

Program to Make the Best Coronavirus  Decisions Should Implemented Now and Then Continuously Improved

Decisions such as opening schools and malls are being made without guidance as to the risk mitigation with various technology solution alternatives.  Installing partitions without regard to air direction, turning off air conditioning or even wearing inefficient masks increases risk.

The McIlvaine Company is attempting to determine the best combination for each situation. The challenge is the large number of variables including technologies and products. There are a number of companies and institutions up to meeting this challenge.  We are identifying them and reporting their insights in our Daily Alerts. But we have to put this knowledge into a framework which delivers the best recommendations at any given time.

We start with the holistic approach which assigns values to life duration and quality and economic impacts.  McIlvaine has this structure. It was first created in a project for Cardinal Health relative to single use gowns and is explained at Sustainability Universal Rating System.     

The next step is to make available the knowledge from air pollution control, cleanrooms and industrial hygiene. When we do that we realize for example mask and filter efficiency is much more important than has been assumed.

Here is the standard that the cleanroom industry uses to classify rooms.  The cleanest reduces the number of particles less than 0.1 microns to 10. This compares to room air which has 1 billion particles per m3. 


This means that if you are wearing an inefficient mask you are inhaling and exhaling billions of particles. From the air pollution control industry we know that some of these particles (e.g. mercury)  may have originated in a gold mine in Brazil and ended up in the Artic. COVID has shown up on air pollution particles in the Lombardi region of Italy. Several studies show greater COVID infection rates in areas of high air pollution. But this may be due to weakened immune systems.

It may be unlikely but possible that a small particle you exhale could be inhaled by someone in China. Assumedly any virus would not be active but on the other hand some studies show that virus is at times dormant and is activated by moisture in the lungs.

The average individual in a room of average air purity will breath in and exhale many millions of particles every minute. Here are the particles by size in each breath.


If someone is wearing a cloth mask he will be inhaling and exhaling as many as 8 million particles per minute.  With an N95 mask the number would be greatly reduced

Some experts estimate that exposure to as few as 1000 SARS-CoV-2 viral particles can cause an infection. This dose of virus could occur by inhaling 1000 infectious viral particles in a single breath, 100 viral particles in 10 breaths, or 10 viral particles in 100 breaths.

A single cough releases about 3,000 respiratory droplets that travel at 50 miles per hour. Without a mask most droplets are large, and quickly fall to the ground, but many remain airborne and can travel across a room in a few seconds.  With a mask the large droplets are captured on the mask interior and become aerosol generators. A single sneeze releases about 30,000 droplets traveling up to 200 miles per hour. Most droplets are small and travel great distances. The droplets from a single cough or a sneeze emitted by an infected person may contain as many as 200,000,000 virus particles. It stands to reason that most of these virus particles will be discharged from the inefficient mask in subsequent exhalations.

Breathing may release as few as 20 to 30 viral particles per minute. Speaking increases the release of respiratory droplets about tenfold more than breathing; 200 virus particles per minute. A person could become infected after ten minutes of face to face talking with an infected person. Experts are agreed that inefficient masks do not capture the small aerosols caused by breathing and speaking.

Since air  can contain millions of viruses it is necessary to develop robust programs which can deal with large numbers.

The collision rate theory described in our interview with UCSD provides a holistic modeling approach


An  automation and monitoring approach with software geared to be actionable is described by Qlair in a McIlvaine interview:  Additional information is shown on a July 22 video


Using this approach we can draw tentative conclusions.  We can use generalizations about the percent of virus generated by coughs and then aerosolized. Cloth masks become aerosol generators. Cough droplets on the inner surface evaporate and then aerosols exit the mask. We assume a situation where 60% of the virus is transmitted through coughing and sneezing and 20% by contact and another 20% by aerosols.

As shown in the above graph the cloth mask reduces the risk of transmission by coughing and sneezing but greatly increases the risk of airborne transmission. Logic and experimental data support this conclusion. But if true why has wearing of cloth masks reduced infections where it is being practiced. One answer is that people who wear masks are also practicing social distancing and other beneficial tactics.

The other answer is that the cloth masks prevent people from receiving sudden surges of millions  of droplets and instead spread viruses out in a diluted form. Could it be that the reason the number of asymptomatic and other unreported cases is ten times higher than reported cases is  due to the dilution effect of cloth masks. 

Could cloth masks be unintendedly immunizing people by transmitting dilute virus quantities to them? Instead of sneezing on one person the transmitter is sending a cloud of virus in diluted numbers throughout the area. Before getting too excited about this possibility let’s heed the warning of some researchers who are worried that the small aerosols penetrate the lungs and cause more serious illness than large droplets landing the nasal passages.

The facts are that an efficient mask e.g. N95 is much safer. Mask efficiency should therefore be one of the important parameters in the UCSD collision rate model

qlAir uses CO2 as one measure of people in a space (a version of social distancing). It also can use software which will identify the numbers of people in an area served by an independent HVAC system. This means that output can be delivered using the theory with real time data.

Particulate measurements can be used as a surrogate for viral reduction. Let’s say the HVAC filter cleans the air to where the particulate in the recirculating air is only 20% of the outside air. Therefore it can be assumed that 80% of the virus has also been eliminated.

The virus transmission is a function of the amount  of virus potentially exhaled by transmitters and the amount inhaled by the recipient.


All of this can be quantified  with the sensors and software which can be supplied by companies like qlAir. Their analyses will show the difference  made by efficient filters and masks.

The controlled direction of air flow is crucial. Ideally it should flow clockwise from the emitter to the HVAC system where most of the virus is removed. Then with laminar discharged air any remaining virus is greatly diluted before reaching the recipient.

The goal should be to avoid counterclockwise flow from the emitter directly to the recipient.

Counterclockwise Flow with No Masks and Poor Air Flow


If the emitter exhales 2 million particles directly on to the recipient and neither is wearing masks the recipient could receive a very large dose. It could be as much as 100,000 particles.

Clockwise Flow with N95 Masks Good Dilution and MERV 16 Filters


If the emitter is wearing an N95 mask and his emissions flow into the HVAC with a MERV 16 filter, the air is diluted at least by 1000 to one and the recipient is wearing an N95 mask then the recipient would receive less than one virus particle.

The proactive program, Coronavirus Technology Solutions is explained at

Bob McIlvaine can answer your questions at 847 226 2391.

NEWS RELEASE                                                                                     July 2020

Healthy Lifestyle Along with Coronavirus Technology and Pharmaceutical Solutions will Vanquish COVID-19

With a combination of Technology and Pharmaceutical Solutions COVID can be vanquished and near normal life quickly restored. McIlvaine has programs in both these areas but realizes there is a third weapon which is of equal importance - a healthy lifestyle.  The recent wave of infections has resulted in younger people being hospitalized. Their recovery to full health will be affected by their health at the time of admission. Dr. Amy Anderson is a nutritional epidemiologist who focuses on how diet and other lifestyle behaviors can influence health. Amy has prepared the following diagram to show the interaction of a healthy lifestyle with the technology and pharmaceutical solutions.


Click here for a larger display

A healthy diet, exercise, and other healthy lifestyle behaviors could lower the risk of severe COVID-19 in part through their anti-inflammatory effects. For example, a healthy diet and overall lifestyle can help prevent or reduce excess abdominal visceral fat, which is a strong predictor of chronic, low-level inflammation (as measured by inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-6 (IL-6)).  Underlying chronic inflammation could exacerbate the inflammatory effects of SARS-CoV-2 viral infection and lead to more severe COVID-19.  It thus appears optimal to try to reduce underlying inflammation through a healthy diet and overall lifestyle.

Dr. Amy Anderson can be reached at e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Coronavirus autopsies: A story of 38 brains, 87 lungs and 42 hearts.

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in U.S. Children and Adolescents.

DNA Inherited From Neanderthals May Increase Risk of Covid-19.

Complications from COVID-19 may depend on von Willebrand factor in the blood.

The McIlvaine Company provides Coronavirus Technology Solutions and Coronavirus Pharmaceutical Solutions.  Information on these programs is found at

Bob McIlvaine can answer your questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; cell 847 226 2391


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