The mask, called a kosk or nose mask, comprises of two parts, with one section covering the nose and the other covering the mouth. The bottom section can be folded away to expose the mouth to allow for easy eating and drinking while keeping the nose covered.
It was designed and recently released by the company Atman and is available on a South Korean online shopping website at the price of £6 for a box of 10 masks.
The word “kosk” is a portmanteau of the words “mask” and “ko”, the Korean word for “nose”.
Images of the kosk mask have been mocked by social media users, who pointed out that Covid-19 is an airborne virus and can still enter or exit the body through an uncovered mouth, therefore continuing the spread of the disease.
One person said that the mask “had to be a joke”, while another wrote that they “don’t get this product”.
“If you are unfolding part of the mask to put back over your mouth after eating, and the outside of the mask may be contaminated, the whole process seems… less than ideal?” they said.
A third person joked: “Forget sticking your nose out of your mask – now you can stick your mouth out instead with the ‘kosk’.”
A promotional image of the mask which shows a young woman wearing just the section for the nose sparked laughter, with one person admitting they thought it was for “nose jobs” while another said it “looks like a pantyliner”.
However, some people thought the two-part mask could prove useful and be more comfortable when dining out.
One commenter wrote: “Ok. So I know people think this is really weird and stupid. But like, it’s actually kinda genius.
“It’s a full mask that can be folded to fully fit over your nose when dining out. I mean, I feel like this could solve a lot of problems.”
Despite the kosk mask gaining attention, the idea of a nose-only mask is not new.
In March 2021, researchers in Mexico claimed they invented a nose-only mask that protects wearers from Covid-19 and dubbed it the “Eating Mask”.
A year before, a team of medical professionals at the pneumology department at Shongshan Hospital in Shanghai claimed they had developed a similar mask prototype that was aimed at health workers who were working during the coronavirus pandemic.