Since the highly contagious variant of the omicron coronavirus is spreading around the world, some experts warn that we need to change the facial masks we have worn so far.
Photo: EPA / ANDY RAIN
Experts warn that face masks are a weak defense against the much more contagious omicron variant of the virus.
“Canvas masks are nothing more than facial decorations. There is no room for them in the light of omicrons,” said the doctor and professor of science policy, Dr. Liana Ven per CNN. “That’s what scientists and public health workers have been saying for months,” Wen added.
“We’re going to wear at least a three-layer surgical mask,” he said. It is a mask that is also known as an available mask and can be found in most perfumeries, as well as in some supermarkets and retail stores.
“On top of that, you can wear a canvas mask, but not just a canvas mask,” he explains.
Ideally, in places with a lot of people, “you should wear a KN95 or N95 mask,” which can be economical, adds Wen.
Thanks to a better fit and materials such as polypropylene fibers, which act as a mechanical and electrostatic barrier, these masks better prevent small particles from entering the nose or mouth and should be put on. the face to function properly.
During the early months of the pandemic, health experts discouraged the general public from buying N95 masks because medical staff faced a lack of personal protective equipment. But “it’s been several months since the supply of the N95 was a problem,” Ven said.
However, the latest guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the selection, proper use, cleaning, and storage of facial masks recommend that people avoid H95 masks and instead of choosing masks with two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric, which Wen calls “the main mistake.”
“If we go so far as to say that masks are necessary, then at least we advise them to wear the mask more effectively,” Wen said.
“People have taken longer to understand the nature of the airborne infection. That this is not necessarily a hybrid infection, such as the flu, which can spread by drops, inhale a little, on the surface. and so infected. The primary trigger seems to be. to be infection. joints caused by coronavirus, “said Erin Bromag, an associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
How effective are masks?
“Tissue masks can filter out large drops, while more effective masks, such as H95, can filter out large drops and smaller aerosols or potentially virus-filled particles in the air if infected people are present,” Bromag said.
The fabric cover releases 75 percent of the particles inside and out. N95 masks can filter up to 95 percent of airborne particles, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Surgical masks or disposable masks are about 5 to 10 percent less effective than N95 masks,” Bromag said.
“If fewer viruses are needed, or if an infected person expels more viruses, then the role of the masks is to reduce the amount they breathe. If you need 1000 virus particles you are infected and wear masks that prevent 50 percent of things., Now it will take twice as long to reach that 1000. If you carry one that is 90 percent effective, it will take at least 10 times longer before you get infected when you are near someone who is infected, ”he explains.
A mask that protects better
“We need to promote high-quality masks everywhere, because at the moment, a single-layer fabric mask doesn’t just fit the omicron,” said former chief surgeon Dr. Jerome Adams.
The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety has a list of approved N95 masks. These masks should be in the shape of a cup, a flat fold or a duck beak, followed by two stripes that rotate around the head, an adjustable wire bridge for the nose, and appropriate labels, the CDC says.
However, they added that the recommendation of these experts to wear better masks is not a proposal to remove your fabric masks or to stay “without a mask” when you do not have a medical grade mask available.
In studies of various facial masks, multilayer and multilayer fabric masks “have been shown to be superior to monolayer fabrics with fewer threads,” but are still less effective than medical masks, the CDC reports.
“If you only have a cloth mask, it’s better than nothing. But you’re not well protected and you should know that,” Wen concludes.