The Respirator and Cloth Mask

Because of COVID-19, N95 respirators and cloth masks — their availability and their efficacy — now dominate the news and are at the heart of often vitriolic public debates. Both futuristic and somehow archaic at the same time, millions now depend on their use to prevent infection of a potentially deadly illness.

Written by James Esposito. Narration by Dr. Nicholas B. Breyfogle. A textual version of this video is available here.

Video production by Laura Seeger and Dr. Nicholas B. Breyfogle. Production assistance by Kristin Osborne. Audio production by Paul Kotheimer, College of Arts & Sciences Academic Technology Services. The Origins' editorial team includes Editors Nicholas Breyfogle, Steven Conn and David Steigerwald; Managing Editors Lauren Henry and Sarah Paxton ; Associate Editors: Mina Park and Kristin Osborne.

This is a production of Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective at the Goldberg Center in the Department of History at The Ohio State University and the Department of History at Miami University. For more information about Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective, please visit origins.osu.edu.

We thank the Stanton Foundation for their funding of this and other Origins projects.