NEWS RELEASE                                                                                     October 2020

A BB Gun in Bear Country is Like a Cloth Mask at a Rally

Grizzly bears are as tough to stop as the coronavirus. Even relatively high powered guns may not stop the charge. No one would recommend a BB gun for protection. Yet a BB gun to stop a bear is as illogical as a loose fitting inefficient mask to protect against COVID.

When the guidance is to wear a mask without specifying  the level of protection, it is equivalent to telling people that any kind of gun will protect them in bear country. The false sense of security could be doing huge damage. Some studies show that 70 percent of the COVID cases occur in people who are wearing masks. This coincidently ties into the likely efficiency of a cloth ill-fitting mask. If everyone is wearing inefficient masks you would expect only 20 percent better protection than if no masks were worn.

Mask inefficiency is a subject many experts are avoiding because they worry that this fact will be used to persuade people not to wear masks at all. Some experts such as Professor Osterholm of the University of Minnesota express the opposite view. He worries that people will feel safer than they should and will venture into risky situations with a false sense of security.

What is particularly puzzling is that no one argues about the physics and yet there is no major campaign to encourage use of efficient and tight fitting masks.

  • Medical personnel in the best PPE are close to 100% protected against the virus even if the virus load is extremely high.
  • If everyone wore this garb for four weeks the virus would be gone.
  • The virus is only 100 nanometers or 0.1 microns in diameter.
  • It is frequently carried on 1 micron and larger droplets.
  • These droplets evaporate.
  • The salts remaining after evaporation vary in size but are much smaller than the droplet.
  • Large droplets captured on the inside surfaces of masks are either divided into smaller droplets by air flow back and forth or they evaporate.
  • Particles adhering to media surfaces will very likely not become airborne but particles in droplets which evaporate can penetrate the mask or flow out the leaks around the mask periphery.
  • Most masks worn by the public are loose fitting. The amount of air circumventing the media is often 50% or more.
  • It is misleading to judge the mask fit by the leakage of all particles. It is the small virus which will act like perfume or cigarette smoke and penetrate any opening.
  • Most masks have a very low efficiency on perfume or cigarette smoke and therefore are just as inefficient on viruses.
  • When you combine the virus which is inhaled around the periphery of the mask with the virus which penetrates, it is likely that the total efficiency is as low as 20%.

Inefficient Loose Fitting Cloth Mask


This is assuming that the wearer has the mask in the proper position.

Efficient Tight Fitting Mask


An efficient tight fitting mask will only allow 3 percent of the virus to penetrate and 2 percent to be inhaled through the periphery.

It is very important that this mask knowledge be continually assessed and debated. Engineers and aerosol scientists cannot disregard the physics just described. The one variable where the medical community has superior knowledge is the viability of the virus. Does the virus initially captured in a large droplet become inactive as the droplet evaporates and it becomes airborne? The opposite seems be true with documented cases of aerosol viability 24 hours after exhalation.

Does a massive instantaneous dose of virus cause more harm than if that dose is metered out over 15 minutes?  There is some evidence that the opposite is true. Some super spreader events such as the Washington state choir imply that continuous exposure over an hour is likely to cause transmission.

If in fact reliance on cloth masks is as dangerous as relying on a BB gun in bear country, it is very important to gain a consensus on the dangers. The daily alerts and webinars included in Coronavirus Technology Solutions provide a forum to analyze all aspects in depth. Click here for more information

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

NEWS RELEASE                                                                                     October 2020

Filter Media Market will be Large but Volatile

The segments of the filtration industry which use non-woven and membrane filters were $60 billion in 2019. If the lowest true cost choices relative to the coronavirus are selected the market will grow to $80 billion in 2022. This represents an increase of 33 percent over the 2019 revenues. 

Coronavirus variables have the biggest effect on the mask, local air and HVAC purchases. Given the lowest true cost path the media purchases for masks would be over $5 billion. The media purchases for local air and HVAC would be $4 billion. Media purchases for other filtration applications would be over $21 billion.

The lowest true cost analysis recognizes the fact that most virus transmission is through small aerosols. As a result highly efficient masks and filters represent the lowest true cost.

Media suppliers are investing in production lines which will be depreciated over many years. So the market past 2022 is of high interest. The future markets are dependent upon

  • choice of the lowest true cost program or the choice the U.S. and Brazil have taken
  • the timing and impact of vaccines and therapies
  • the impact of the next pandemic, influenza and air pollution
  • the development of new media with higher performance attributes
  • existing capacity versus demand at any point in time.

The filtration media suppliers are facing the challenge of a very volatile market. The 2021 market could vary from $20 to $35 billion. By 2024 the market could vary from $23 billion to $44 billion.


Media suppliers will be well advised to continually adjust forecasts in each application and geography.  Some applications such as rotating equipment have much more certainty than masks.


The same media which can be used in masks and HVAC filters has applicability in gas turbine intake filters, dust collectors, and liquid cartridges.

Growth in gas turbine inlet filters and dust collection will be much more predictable than media for fan filter units and local air systems.


Media efficiencies will change substantially from this 2019 split.


The COVID impact will likely lessen but air pollution and influenza concerns will insure a continuing market.


The Mcilvaine Company has custom reports on filter media and multi client reports on each filtration application. Details are found at  Bob McIlvaine can answer any questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 847 226 2391.

NEWS RELEASE                                                                                     October 2020

Efficient Tight Fitting Masks are Needed to Beat COVID

The evidence appearing in the daily alerts in the Coronavirus Technology Solutions shows that

  • Most of the transmission is through small aerosols
  • Large droplets on the mask’s internal surface become small aerosols
  • The typical surgical mask is only half as efficient as a tight fitting high efficiency mask

Small aerosols containing coronavirus are inhaled and exhaled through the periphery of surgical masks. The COVID battle will be won with either N95 masks or improved versions of surgical masks which minimize leakage.

Tight fitting masks are inherently more uncomfortable and require more effort to wear properly than the typical surgical mask. Since the virus travels as easily as perfume or cigarette smoke the tighter the fit the better. There are recent innovations to provide a tighter fit. One is a self-adhesive mask.  Others add a peripheral band which is adjustable. This is a solvable problem which will not add much to cost.

An individual should have multiple mask types which he wears as conditions warrant.  This can range from N100 down to tight fitting surgical masks.  It can include non-valved as well as valved designs.

Much of the time no mask will be required. The mask selection at any point in time should be appropriate to the risk in a specific environment. This risk is indicated by

  • New COVID-19 case counts
  • Incidence rate (new cases per 100,000 people), and
  • New case trajectory (whether the number of new cases is going up, going down, or staying the same over time).
  • Indoor and outdoor pollution levels
  • Testing Positivity ratios
  • Site specific factors such as number of people per ft2. Air changes per hour and efficiency of HVAC systems

Individuals should continually assess risks and wear the appropriate mask for the circumstances.  Let’s take an example which  is prominent in the news The cost of holding the Supreme Court nomination at the White House in September is estimated at $140 million as a result of  coronavirus cases and deaths which will result from this one event.

This amount is based on the eventual deaths of two people and infection of 100 people as attendees pass the virus along to non-attendees. Social distancing would have cut the cases to 50. In addition surgical masks would have reduced the cases by another 25. N95 masks would likely have reduced the cases to five.  Even with the N95 masks the risk is unacceptable. When all costs including quality of life are considered it would have been an $8 million cost for one event. This is much less than the $140 million actually generated with no masks or social distancing but still too high a price to pay.

This event was predictably high risk. One metric would be to assume a net positive ratio in excess of 15 as a rating of risk for this event. There are some parts of the country where the risk is well less than 1%  if only a small number of local people attend.

The number of cases of an infection for a proposed event can be predicted depending on the risk.  In this case we used net positive rate as the indicator and compared results for rates of 1 to 15.


McIlvaine has created a methodology to assess the costs and benefits of various mask decisions.  This includes healthcare costs, economic costs and life quality costs. It is then balanced by the benefits of lives saved and cases avoided which has both economic and life quality components.  There is a detailed analysis of these costs and benefits for the White House event in  the October 7 Coronavirus Technology Solutions alert.

The costs and benefits of various masks along with their availability are analyzed in the High Efficiency Mask Market and Supplier Program.

Click here to view a video description or Click here for the power point display

NEWS RELEASE                                                                                     October 2020

The Value of Tight Fitting Effective Masks Demonstrated by White House Events

On October 10 there was a rally in the Rose Garden of the White House. An earlier event celebrating the Supreme Court nomination will likely result in 100 new coronavirus infections. This includes the original 13 directly tied to the event and then others who will be infected later by the super spreading. The October 10 event will probably result in 200 infections. Here is  why.


Many of the people traveled by air to the event. There was no social distancing. Some people were unmasked but many had cloth masks. Even if some were wearing surgical masks they were probably loose fitting. If everyone had been wearing efficient tight fitting masks, there may be only 20 cases resulting from the event of which only four would be directly from the event. If everyone had been wearing surgical masks with some effort at obtaining a good fit the cases would be reduced to 110 and 90 deaths prevented.


If everyone had had a loose fitting cloth mask probably only 40 cases would have been avoided and there would still be 160.


This  type of behavior is why as of today the U.S. has had 8 million cases and 220,000 deaths. The latest models show that we are headed toward 400,000 deaths by January 1. These additional 180,000 deaths could be reduced by 80% with proper use of tight fitting N95 masks.


The net benefit to U.S. citizens including both economic and quality of life will be 180,000 x $20 million = $3.6 trillion.  This is a net benefit from which an expenditure of $12 billion for highly efficient masks is already deducted.

More details on the Mask Market and Supplier Program is available.   Click here to view a video description or Click here for the power point display.  For more information contact Bob McIlvaine @ 847 226 2391 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.m

NEWS RELEASE                                                                                     October 2020

Wastewater Pump Market Shares and WEFTEC

There is continuing interest and value for pump suppliers to determine the present and future market shares of their competitors.  One of the most cost effective ways to gather insights is from exhibition participation.

This week a virtual WEFTEC is being conducted, It started Monday October 5 and runs through Friday. This annual exhibition normally attracts tens of thousands of visitors. Its focus is the wastewater industry. It is held in major U.S. cities with Chicago and New Orleans being hosts of this annual event on a fairly frequent basis.

WEFTEC is one of the world’s largest exhibitions for municipal wastewater products. It compares favorably with IFAT in Germany because it is held three times as often. It also compares favorably to Asian exhibitions.

It is therefore useful to determine

  • which pump companies are exhibiting,
  • what is their world pump market share
  • what are their niche leadership positions. A niche leadership can be a combination of geography, pump type, and application. Leadership is defined as being in a group of leading suppliers.


The centrifugal pump market in wastewater is much larger than rotary, reciprocating, or diaphragm.  The same is true for other industries.  So centrifugal pump manufacturers have the top rankings in the total market.

Municipal wastewater represents 15% of all industrial applications.

The importance of the wastewater market differs by pump type. It is only 9% of the market for reciprocating pumps, 17% for centrifugal  pumps, 19% for diaphragm pumps, and 21 % of the rotary market.


The market is not adversely affected by the pandemic. In fact the testing of wastewater for COVID is a new market niche.

The market shares of 400 pump companies are included in Pumps: World Market.  Click here for more information:

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


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