Internet reacts to South Korea's controversial Kosk mask 

South Korean company Atman's new mask design (Image via Twitter - Sokeel Park, South Korea's Country Director/@sokeel)
South Korean company Atman's new mask design (Image via Twitter - Sokeel Park, South Korea's Country Director/@sokeel)

A South Korean company has released a new mask design called the "Kosk." This new product has already amassed plenty of attention for its uniqueness - it covers only the nose so that the wearer can eat comfortably.

COVID-19 continues to persist and new variants emerge every few months, and the mask is apparently an attempt to help the public go about their daily routine while maintaining some degree of protection against the virus.

Kosk: Atman's popular nose mask design

On February 3, 2022, South Korea’s newly-designed Kosk mask became a trending topic among netizens. Soon enough, multiple media outlets began addressing details around the popular invention.

The “kosk,” a portmanteau of ko, the Korean word for nose, and mask, has been released by Atman, a South Korean company. It consists of two pieces, one of which can be removed to leave the mouth uncovered. A pack of 10 such masks sell for 9,800 won ($8.13).

Meanwhile, the three reusable Copper Antivirus Nose Masks, which only cover the nose at all times, are available in different colors. These cost 2,000 won ($1.65). The masks are designed to be worn under a regular mask that covers the mouth, which can be removed when dining out with other people.

With the invention becoming a hot topic in the media, an Atman spokesperson explained the rationale behind the kosk:

"No matter how well a mask is worn in a place where a large number of people gather, there are many cases where the mask is taken off in various situations. In order to compensate for the shortcomings and prevent respiratory diseases, we produced the nose mask. We completed it with more time and effort than other masks."

The reveal of this unique mask drew both curiosity and criticism online. Netizens stated that an uncovered mouth can still spread coronavirus. Others welcomed the new product, stating that it would make them feel comfortable at official gatherings and dinners.

Studies suggest that the nose is the easiest route for the COVID-19 virus to enter the body, so the Kosk may not be quite as absurd as it looks. Professor Catherine Bennett, chair of epidemiology at Deakin University's Institute for Health Transformation in Australia, stated the following:

"You might think it's weird because it's a mask that only covers the nose, but it's better than nothing."

Coronavirus cases in South Korea touched 22,907 on February 3, 2022 after exceeding 20,000 for the first time on February 2, driven by the spread of the Omicron variant. However, the country has registered a relatively low 6,812 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

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Edited by Sandeep Banerjee
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