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South Korea’s nose-only ‘kosk’ mask for Covid-safe dining raises eyebrows

As some studies have suggested that the nose is the easiest route for the Coronavirus to enter the body, wearing a nose mask may not be as misplaced as it looks.

These masks are designed to be worn under a regular mask that covers the mouth, which can be removed when dining out or drinking with other people. (Twitter/Sokeel)

A South Korean company has rolled out an anti-virus mask that only covers the nose and can be worn while eating and drinking. The “kosk”, a combination of ko (the Korean word for nose) and mask, has been released by the company called Atman and sells for 9,800 won ($8.13; Rs 610) for a box of 10 on online retailer Coupang. Each kosk consists of two pieces, one of which can be removed to leave the mouth uncovered, The Guardian reported.

Meanwhile, three reusable “copper antivirus nose masks” which only cover the nose at all times are available in different colours for 2,000 won ($1.65; Rs 125) from Spar Clone Fabric, also on Coupang. These masks are designed to be worn under a regular mask that covers the mouth, which can be removed when dining out or drinking with other people.

However, as some studies have suggested that the nose is the easiest route for the Coronavirus to enter the body, wearing a nose mask may not be as misplaced as it looks.

Professor Catherine Bennett, chief of epidemiology at Deakin University’s Institute for Health Transformation in Australia, told Nine News that masks that only cover the nose were a “strange idea”, but would be “better than nothing”.

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

Amidst this, Coronavirus cases in South Korea hit a record of 22,907 on Thursday after topping 20,000 for the first time on Wednesday, driven by the spread of the Omicron variant.

However, the east Asian nation has registered a relatively low 6,812 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. That represents a death rate per million of 133, compared to 2,300 per million in the UK and 2,747 in the US.

First published on: 04-02-2022 at 16:38 IST
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