Wearing Face Masks - theory or reality ?

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trader32176
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Re: Wearing Face Masks - theory or reality ?

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The American Lung Association say to wear masks to stop the spread of COVID-19; Here’s why

11/25/20


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201 ... s-why.aspx


What provoked your research into COVID-19 and the use of masks?

There has been some debate over the months since the pandemic started as to the modes of transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Surfaces or fomites are possibly less important than we originally thought, the virus can still be found for different lengths of times on surfaces, depending on the type of surface and surrounding temperature, but it seems that infectivity by the virus is felt to be low and is likely to fade quickly with time.

The mask recommendations have been derived from the fact that the airborne nature of the spread is more apparent now, especially when we realized that these droplets or aerosols were being spewed out by individuals who were minimally symptomatic or not symptomatic at all, but had the infection.

Masks have been recommended at the beginning to protect others from these droplets and aerosols that were generated by the wearer, but now there is also growing evidence that masks may actually help prevent the wearer from getting exposed to the infection also, and may actually decrease the inoculum or the amount of virus that might be inhaled, therefore leading to a less severe infection.

Droplets themselves are usually considered to be 10 to 15 microns in diameter and are generated by people when they cough or sneeze. They usually fall to the ground quickly and account for the six-foot social distancing measure that has been recommended all along.

More importantly, aerosols, which are smaller than droplets (10 to 15 microns), are generated by just talking, breathing, smoking, singing, exercising, and yelling. These particles tend not to fall to the ground very rapidly remaining suspended in the air for hours depending on the surrounding ventilation. That is why outdoor gatherings carry a lower risk of spread. This mode of transmission has been often quoted as the reason for some of the super spreading outbreaks that occur at functions such as weddings, parties, and sporting events.

We actually developed a research protocol for COVID-19, not specifically for masks, but we know masks are being looked at by the researchers who apply to us for funding.

What is the importance of wearing masks in helping to control the spread of COVID-19?

Everyone should wear masks to decrease the spread of COVID-19 from infected and/or asymptomatic wearers and help protect the wearer from inhalation of infectious droplets from others.

Masks are playing a much bigger role in bringing the pandemic under control than was initially thought.

Can you describe the correct way to wear a mask?

Masks are going to work best if they cover the nose and the mouth. When we breathe, talk or sneeze, these droplets come out of both the nose and the mouth, so covering them both helps prevent exposure to others from your droplets.

The same thing helps to protect you. If you inhale through the nose or the mouth, if it is not covered by the mask, it is not going to be able to protect you as well. So, there is definitely places where people, because they feel more comfortable, will not cover the nose, and they will just cover the mouth. We recommend covering both.

The other important thing is to try to have it fit snugly to the face, especially across the bridge of the nose. Many of these masks have a little more stiffness or sometimes even a metal bar over the bridge to fit the mask more securely. But many patients have to balance the snug fit with the comfort of breathing through a mask, and this mainly goes to a lot of the patients I see who already have underlying chronic diseases.

These individuals can manage okay for 10-15 minutes at a time, but the longer they have to be in a mask, they do feel like their breathing's getting too labored. So, they have to take a break, go away from areas where they have to wear the mask for long periods of time, but covering the nose and mouth is particularly important.

What other safety protocols should people follow to limit the spread of COVID-19?

We certainly do not want to forget about the importance of frequent handwashing with soap and water, or at least using alcohol sanitizers with at least 60% solution. Wearing a mask we have already talked about, especially when outside of your home, and practicing the social distancing measures as much as possible. Avoid being around sick individuals as much as possible and try not to go into workplaces if you feel ill because you may actually expose others.

Another recommendation is to simply avoid crowds, especially indoors where we know ventilation may not be optimal, especially for long periods of time. We want to make sure you avoid places where mask-wearing is not being practiced by everybody.

Really be aware of your surroundings and institute all those measures of handwashing, social distancing, and mask-wearing.

How will the upcoming winter months affect the severity of COVID-19, and what could people do to reduce their chances of spreading this virus?

The colder months will likely drive activities that were being able to be handled outdoors indoors, where there is less optimal ventilation, and this will be an issue concerning an increase in spread. The same recommendations apply here as mentioned before, but we also know the winter months do carry with them certain holidays that are certainly covered here in the United States and worldwide.

That unfortunately is going to draw individuals to, who probably missed many family members for months, maybe let their guard down and congregate in homes where there are more people than there should be there, where social distancing cannot take place, and where the ventilation may not be optimal. I think we all realize that these winter months may very well be a worsening of the already present surge that is occurring across the world.

In your latest statement, you have encouraged everyone above 6 months old to get the flu vaccine. Why is this?

In the United States, it has been recommended for a period of time now that the Center for Disease Control feels that immunization best practices includes anyone over the age of six months getting the vaccine.

The more individuals we immunize against the seasonal flu, the more herd immunity is achieved and outbreaks and hotspots where local epidemics can be prevented. This is especially important this year in view of the coexisting COVID pandemic that may already be stretching the resources of the health care community.

We are also stressing the importance of the flu vaccine for the elderly and those with comorbid diseases because we know they are at more risk of developing complications of the flu.

Do you believe that if everyone correctly followed guidelines, we could potentially reduce the number of people catching COVID-19?

Yes, and I believe this is supported by experience in the past with other infectious diseases and pandemics. Even just this past year with the institution of the social distancing measures in the Southern hemisphere, they saw a drop in the influenza rate.

Influenza, just like COVID, is a disease spread by person to person by airborne transmission, and if we can follow measures like this, it should decrease the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

What are the next steps in your research into masks and COVID-19?

As part of our COVID-19 action initiative launched earlier this spring, we have already funded new COVID researchers in areas of immune response, prevention, risk factors, and therapeutics at a level of $3 million.

We are planning on another round of funding later this year. At the same time, we are using our other mission tools of educating the public and healthcare workers and advocating for state and federal legislation that will help eliminate many of the inequities in the social determinants of health we have noted.

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly shined a light on the fact that communities of color and those who are socioeconomically deprived are suffering more from this disease, and we need to do whatever we can to pass legislation to help people have access to care across the board.

Where can readers find more information?

Lung Helpline & Quitline: https://www.lung.org/help-support/lung- ... o-quitline
You can connect with us by calling 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872 and press 2), submitting a question or live chat when available.
Buy 2, Give 2 masks: https://www.lung.org/get-involved/ways- ... /buy-masks
COVID-19 resources: https://www.lung.org/blog/2020/03/update-covid-19
COVID-19 Action Initiative https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseas ... 0pandemics.
trader32176
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Re: Wearing Face Masks - theory or reality ?

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Is mask-wearing effective in preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission?

12/4/20


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201 ... ssion.aspx


UK-based researchers from HH Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol, released the findings of their review of the efficacy of the face coverings and masks in preventing transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the preprint server medRxiv*. Their study is titled, “How effective are face coverings in reducing transmission of COVID-19?”

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has infected over 65.67 million people around the world, and has killed over 1.51 million people. The pandemic was detected late in 2019 in Wuhan, China, and on the 11th of March 2020 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

To date, no drugs are effective against the virus and, until an effective vaccine is available for mass use, the risk of contracting the infection remains. Lack of pharmacological measures to prevent and cure the infection has mandated non-pharmacological measures, such as physical distancing, hand hygiene and one of the most important measures – wearing a face covering or a face mask that covers both the nose and mouth.
Aerosols and masks

The researchers write, “The prevailing view presupposes a binary classification between large and small droplets (also called aerosols), which respectively transmit disease via the droplet and airborne routes.”

Controversy regarding face coverings


Around the world, there has been a lot of controversy around wearing a face cover appropriately. Despite this, wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings remain the main agenda of public health campaigns by all major health bodies worldwide. Masks remain one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of this airborne infection, write the researchers, and this study was conducted to show the efficacy of wearing face coverings correctly in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The team looked at the underlying physics that prevents the entry of particles with diameters > 1 micron into the nose and mouth of the wearer. As well as analyzing the efficacy of simple cotton or surgical masks, the study attempted to answer several questions regarding the viral load of airborne exhaled particles and the infectious dose from the infected person to the healthy person.

Type of mask

The team wrote, “Agencies like the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommend members of the public wear reusable fabric coverings, whereas disposable surgical masks are more common in East Asian countries such as China.” They note that the wide use of surgical masks will lead to a huge amount of plastic waste, so one of the goals of this study was to compare the efficacy of fabric coverings and surgical masks in preventing the infection. In order to compare the two, mathematical modeling studies were used to assess the relative efficacy.

They added, “We argue that face coverings do not eliminate the risk of secondary transmissions, especially in high-risk settings such as in hospitals or amongst large crowds, but should significantly reduce the risk in most settings.”

Personal air filters


The team says that masks can act as a personal air filter by effectively filtering out particles. The size of the particle it can filter out determines its efficacy. The authors of the study concluded from their study:


Droplets and coarser aerosols ( diameter greater than, or equivalent to, 1 µm) contain a significant amount of the virus. These are easily filtered because they are less mobile. The filtering efficacy for these particles 5 µm in diameter or larger is 100%.
Finer aerosols that are between 0.1 and 1 µm are transported around the fibre by the gas flow. Thus, they cannot be stopped. Filtering efficiency is low (30 to 60%) for these particles.

They add, “Both surgical and cotton masks are thus only partially effective at filtering out sub-micrometre aerosols. However, their efficiency rapidly increases as the size increases beyond a micrometre.”

When more effective masks are considered, N95/KN95/FFP2 masks, for example, the filtering efficiency rises. These have “electret fibres which can sustain considerable electrostatic charge.” This raises their efficiency in filtering 0.1 to 1 µm particles.

Which aerosols contain the virus?


The researchers explained that expiratory particles containing the virus could be determined based on their site of origin. Larger droplets, for example, get deposited in the respiratory tract and smaller droplets emerge from lower in the respiratory tract. Droplets from the larynx and lower respiratory tract are between around 0.1 and 10 µm. Those from the oral cavity are between around 10 to 1000 µm. The larger ones are most likely to contain the majority of the viral microbes, but transmission mainly occurs with the smaller droplets.

The team concluded, “For the moderately large viral load of 108 ml−1 the majority of viral aerosols extend into the micron regime greater than, or equivalent to, >1 µm. Only for extremely large viral loads of 1010 ml−1 do the submicron droplets begin to contain significant numbers of virus.”

Can masks prevent community transmission of the infection?


This study shows that masks remove the majority of viral aerosols except for the submicron size particles. These masks are also “more effective with decreasing viral loads”.

Conclusions and implications

The team explains that both masks made from simple cotton fabrics and surgical masks can reduce the risk of transmission of respiratory viruses. Cloth masks provide the advantage of being washable and reusable. They are, therefore, preferable to disposable surgical masks because they generate less plastic waste. However, the fit of cloth masks is generally poorer and more studies are needed to see if they can prevent the transmission of all respiratory viruses, the researchers wrote. “Transmission of respiratory viruses is complex and poorly understood,” they explained.

Some COVID-19 patients have viral loads thousands or millions of times higher than others. Thus, if there is a 50% reduction in viral load dose due to mask-wearing, the risk of infection in the non-infected person may vary. They write, “As typically the viral load of an infectious person will not be known, other forms of interventions may be warranted in addition to masking.”

They concluded that the finest aerosols (< 1 micron) are unlikely to contain the virus and they suggest that masks are “effective at reducing the risk of airborne transmission in most settings.”

Thus, masks are highly effective at reducing transmission rates from the vast majority of people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the team writes.

*Important Notice

medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and, therefore, should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or treated as established information.

Journal reference:


Joshua F. Robinson, Ioatzin Rios de Anda, Fergus J. Moore, Florence K. A. Gregson, View Jonathan P. Reid, Lewis Husain, Richard P. Sear, C. Patrick Royall. (2020) How effective are face coverings in reducing transmission of COVID-19? medRxiv preprint server. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.12.01.2024 ... 20241992v1
trader32176
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Re: Wearing Face Masks - theory or reality ?

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How effective are masks in preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission?

1/11/21


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210 ... ssion.aspx


Can face masks protect against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection? Faruque Ahmad, MD, recently explored the role of face masks in mitigating the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by SARS-CoV-2, and potential alternatives that might mitigate its spread. In doing so they highlight some of the complications of universal masking and suggest other practices that might also help curb SARS-CoV-2 transmission. The researcher published their study in the latest issue of Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal (2020).

SARS-CoV-2 is believed to commonly spread through respiratory droplets when an infected individual comes into contact with an uninfected individual. Among the mitigation strategies employed in many countries, then, it has been highly recommended, if not mandatory, that individuals wear face masks when out in public and when interacting with individuals outside of their households. Face masks have thus been integrated into public health policy guidelines to minimize the virus's transmission in many parts of the world.

Because presymptomatic carriers are thought to be responsible for 50% of SARS-CoV-2 infection, a marginal decrease in community transmission with masks might make a big difference. This is despite the fact that “strategic measures of face masks exhibit a false sense of security and may lead to death in specific groups of the people,” suggests Ahmad.

However, under certain circumstances, the researcher suggests that wearing a face mask may provide a false sense of safety and lead to a decline in social distancing and handwashing compliances. Moreover, being a new common practice for most, the level of mask safety may also not be achieved by all and lead to non-compliance in its use, reuse and disposal, potentially increasing the chances of transmission.

Furthermore, in the case of certain conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), acute and chronic respiratory infection, asthma, apnea and dyspnea, etc. it is also advisable to avoid face masks and maintain social distancing and other recommended measures. Restrictive respiration due to a face mask may change the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood, leading to further complications in this sensitive group. Likewise, during exercise, wearing a face mask is inadvisable.

The present United States Health care Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) guidelines recommend wearing face shields during the handling of patients, particularly for SARS-CoV-2 and avian influenza. Studies show the benefits of viral protection in face shields (96%) and physical distancing (92%).

Greater protection, repeated use, easy to clean: these are the major advantages of using a face shield, without any of the irritation or discomfort that a face mask may cause, suggests Ahmad. While face shields are enormously useful, social distancing – the age-old, time-tested method – remains the most effective in controlling the spread and preventing fomites infection.

As many countries are facing a second wave of the pandemic surge, the author calls for searching alternates to the face mask.

Overall, the researcher emphasizes that the face shields and social distancing could be better substitutes for face masks for certain groups of people and/or in certain contexts (COPD, acute and chronic respiratory disease, outdoor exercise, old age, underlying medical conditions, and hypercapnia sensitive groups). However, further clinical studies are required to be carried out, the author cautions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends that: "Everybody should use a cloth face cover in a public place but it should be avoided to be applied on children who are below 2 years or someone who has breathing difficulties, incapacitated or incapable to remove face mask without others assistance.”

While other alternatives may help, as this recent study shows, wearing masks in public remains a crucial preventative measure to mitigate SARS-CoV-2 transmission. The study also highlights the public health risks associated with mask-wearing-based complacency with other crucial mitigatory measures, such as social distancing and hand hygiene.

Journal reference:


Faruque Ahmad, M., A Novel Perspective Approach to Explore Pros and Cons of Face Mask in Prevention the Spread of SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens, Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal (2020), doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsps.2020.12.014, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... via%3Dihub
trader32176
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Re: Wearing Face Masks - theory or reality ?

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Firefighter ends mask debate once and for all

2/10/21


Watch the video of him testing face masks w/ an oxygen sensor


https://ugetube.com/watch/firefighter-t ... y2bpc.html
trader32176
Posts: 1755
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:22 am

Re: Wearing Face Masks - theory or reality ?

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CDC study says face mask mandates reduced COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S.

2/17/21


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210 ... he-US.aspx


The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is transmitted predominantly by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, speaks, or breathes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using face masks or face coverings to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Since October 2020, 33 states and the District of Columbia have imposed statewide mask mandates.

A new study by researchers at the CDC examined whether the implementation of the mask mandate is tied to COVID-19-related hospitalization growth rates among different age groups.

The study, which appeared in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) report, showed that weekly hospitalization growth rates declined by 2.9 percent among adults between the ages of 40 and 64 years old during the first two weeks after the statewide mandate to wear masks.

The study

Several U.S. states required residents to wear masks at all times when they go out of their homes, in retail businesses, and restaurants or food establishments.

The mandate comes after the surging COVID-19 cases in the country, reaching 27.82 million cases. The number of people who have died in the U.S. has reached over 490,000.

In the study, the researchers obtained the cumulative COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates for each week between March 1 and October 17, 2020, from COVID-NET, a population-based surveillance system. The surveillance provides laboratory-confirmed, COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates in 99 counties found in 14 states.

With the decline of hospitalization rates tied to COVID-19, masks may have played an essential role in reducing the virus's transmission.

Masks reduce the emission of virus-laden respiratory droplets. Masks can help reduce the transmission of the virus, not only from infected individuals with symptoms but also from those who are asymptomatic or presymptomatic.

The team also found that the drop in hospitalization growth rates more than three weeks after the face mask mandate was rolled out is consistent with the incubation period of SARS-CoV-2. The median incubation period was about 5.1 days, and most people with symptoms report within 11.5 days after being exposed to the virus. The team believes that more than three weeks of the mask mandate is long enough to determine if efficacy.

"At the individual level, the prevention benefit of using a mask increases as more persons use masks consistently and correctly," the researchers explained.

Previous studies have already validated the benefit of face mask wearing for the control of SARS-CoV-2 spread. The studies showed that after implementing universal masking, new infections significantly decreased.

"This study supports community masking to reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. It also demonstrates that statewide mask mandates were associated with a reduction in COVID-19–associated hospitalization growth rates among adults aged 18–64 years and might affect age groups differently," they added.

Overall, the team reiterated that wearing a mask reduces exposure, transmission, and strain on the health care system.

Apart from wearing face masks, infection control measures should also be emphasized to stem the pandemic, including regular hand hygiene and social distancing.

CDC's double masking

The CDC also recommends that it would be more effective if people use double masks.

On February 10, the CDC released a new study maximizing the effects of wearing masks. The team recommends wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask.

These mandates are still being evaluated for efficacy. However, it is crucial to know how masks should be worn.

People should wear a mask anytime people are in public settings if they travel, when around people who are not from the same household, or when a family member tests positive for COVID-19.

Journal reference:


Joo, H., Miller, G., Sunshine, G., et al. (2021). Decline in COVID-19 Hospitalization Growth Rates Associated with Statewide Mask Mandates — 10 States, March–October 2020. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/ ... contribAff
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Re: Wearing Face Masks - theory or reality ?

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Covid-19: Are cloth masks still effective? And other questions answered

2/15/21


https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n432


Are cloth masks still recommended?

Early in the pandemic, major problems in the global supply of medical grade masks meant that the public was asked to avoid using these so that stock could be used to protect healthcare workers. At this point, bodies such as the US Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that the public wear cloth masks and even provided information on how to make them out of household items such as T shirts.1

Many people are still wearing cloth masks, which can now be bought in many shops. But as the worldwide supply of medical grade face masks has expanded, arguments have been made that some members of the public should start wearing more protective masks such as surgical masks. This argument has been strengthened by the emergence of more transmissible variants of SARS-CoV-2, including the UK and South African variants, in response to which some countries have tightened their guidance on what types of masks are allowed.

In France, homemade masks and some shop bought cloth masks have now been banned, after the president of the government’s scientific committee, Jean-François Delfraissy, said that the new variants had “completely changed the game.”

French health minister Olivier Véran announced on 22 January that people in France should no longer wear homemade masks or certain industrially made fabric masks, listed as category 2. The government specified that category 1 masks filter 95% of 3 μm particles, whereas category 2 devices filter only 70%. Only three types of masks will be recommended: surgical (which filter 95% of 3 μm particles), FFP2 (which filter 94% of 0.6 μm particles), and fabric masks made to category 1 standards.

Austria has gone a step further, making FFP2 masks mandatory in indoor public spaces and sending out free packs of these masks to all residents aged over 65 and to low income households. Like the UK, the country is currently in its third national lockdown.2

Germany has made medical masks mandatory in supermarkets and on public transport. London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, wants to introduce a similar requirement on the UK capital’s public transport system. The London newspaper the Evening Standard reported that the mayor’s office was currently reviewing whether passengers should switch to higher grade masks in light of the new variants.3 The former health secretary for England, Jeremy Hunt, has also called for FFP2 respirator masks to be made compulsory on public transport and in shops.4

On 1 December the World Health Organization updated its advice to recommend medical masks for people at risk of serious covid-19 illness and for people aged over 60.5 But this was made before it became clear how new the variants affected transmission. Commenting on the types of cloth mask the public should wear, a WHO spokesperson told The BMJ, “For all others, a reusable three layer fabric mask is advised. The filtration, breathability, and fit of the mask are important. If the mask is produced at home, WHO advises an inner absorbent material such as cotton, a non-absorbent fabric such as polyester outside, and a middle filter layer, such as non-woven spunbond polypropylene.”

The spokesperson added that respirators and medical masks “continue to be in short supply for health workers.”

Fabric masks vary in terms of protection. The consumer website Which? examined this issue and provided a list of the best reusable masks on the market.6

Are two masks better than one?


Some medical leaders have suggested that wearing two masks could provide more protection. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to US president Joe Biden, told the US Today television programme that “if you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on it, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective.”7

New research from the CDC supports this. It has reported that transmission can be reduced by up to 96.5% if both an infected person and an uninfected person wear tightly fitted surgical masks or a cloth mask together with a surgical mask.8

But a WHO spokesperson, commenting in the hours before the new CDC guidance emerged, told The BMJ that it was not currently recommending double masking. “Based on the currently available information on the spread of variants of concern, WHO is maintaining its advice on the use of masks. We will continue to review evidence as it becomes available.”

Should the public be wearing masks outdoors?

The UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) is considering this. In a recent paper that focused on physical distancing and face coverings in light of the UK variant B.1.1.7, SAGE said “using face coverings in a wider range of settings where people could be asymptomatic and may be in close proximity (less than 2 m)” should now be considered.9

The paper said, “Transmission in outdoor settings where people are distanced is likely to still be very low risk. However, it remains the case that if people are in close proximity for extended periods in an outdoor setting, there is a potential risk of transmission from the higher concentrations of respiratory particles near to an infected person. It is possible that this close range risk is greater with the B.1.1.7 variant (low confidence).”

The Department of Health and Social Care for England did not respond when The BMJ asked it whether the UK government was considering recommending masks outdoors.

Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at Norwich Medical School and one of the reviewers for the WHO mask guidance, said the advice may depend on the situation. “If you’re outside in a big queue, and people aren’t socially distancing around you, I would put a mask on. But if I’m just walking on a not overly busy high street [or] going for a walk around a village I wouldn’t wear a mask,” he said.

Hunter added that people should be careful not to get their mask wet, especially if they are then going to go indoors wearing the same mask. He explained, “If that material gets wet, you can’t breathe through the material, and the mask then loses much of its effectiveness. So if it rains and you’ve got a mask on, it becomes pointless because you can’t breathe through it. If it’s cold outside and your breath wets the mask, as it will do, it becomes much less useful.”

WHO has recommended that masks be worn outdoors when there is “known or suspected community or cluster transmission” and when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Does the UK’s mask policy need updating?

Despite the changes in other countries and calls from within the UK to update policy, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care—which does not consider cloth masks to be personal protective equipment (PPE)—told The BMJ, “We have no plans to make it mandatory for the public to wear PPE. The most important and effective actions members of the public can take for protection is to wear a face covering where necessary, staying at home unless leaving is absolutely necessary, and maintaining a 2 m social distance when in public.

“While our PPE supply is stable, we are clear that PPE should be reserved for frontline health and social care workers and is not recommended for use in retail and hospitality settings or by the public.”

But Hunter said the government should be reviewing its policy. Speaking to The BMJ, he said, “I would disagree with that. I think we would have done a lot better last year if we had actually paid more attention to WHO guidance than if we tried to make it up ourselves.”

Many medical bodies, including the BMA and the Doctors’ Association UK, have also been calling for PPE guidance for healthcare workers to be reviewed .

A WHO spokesperson told The BMJ, “Based on evidence gathered from scientists, public health professionals, and national health authorities to date, the variants appear to be more transmissible, but there does not appear to be a change in the way that they are transmitted.

“Studies are still ongoing, but available evidence suggests there is a mutation in these variants that result in the virus being able to bind more efficiently to human cells; but the modes of transmission have not changed.

“This is why our advice at the moment is to stress the importance of adherence to a combination of measures that are known to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2: practising physical distancing, wearing a mask, practising respiratory hygiene, performing hand hygiene, avoiding crowded spaces, and ensuring adequate ventilation.”

Is there any new evidence on mask wearing by the public?

New studies looking at the effects of wearing masks have been published during the pandemic. US researchers recently looked at the impact of state-wide mask requirements on new cases per 100 000 population per day from 1 January 2020 to 24 October 2020.10 They reported that, after adjusting for interstate differences, states that adopted mask requirements early saw the strongest effects on numbers of new cases when compared with those that did not adopt such measures. The effect was smaller but still “clearly protective” when comparing early adopter states to late adopters. “These analyses advance the scientific evidence showing positive impacts of state-wide mask requirements in the US,” the researchers concluded.

Meanwhile, a preprint tested the effectiveness of different face masks and compared this with the perceptions of protection among 710 US residents.11 A TSI 8038+machine was used to test N95, surgical, and two fabric face masks on an individual 25 times each. The researchers reported that fabric face masks “blocked between 62.6% and 87.1% of fine particles, whereas surgical masks protected against an average of 78.2% of fine particles. N95 masks blocked 99.6% of fine particles.” But they said that survey respondents tended to “underestimate the effectiveness of masks, especially fabric masks.” The results indicated that “fabric masks may be a useful tool in the battle against the covid-19 pandemic and that increasing public awareness of the effectiveness of fabric masks may help in this endeavour,” the authors concluded.

References


Mahase E. Covid-19: What is the evidence for cloth masks?BMJ2020;369:m1422. doi:10.1136/bmj.m1422 pmid:32265341
FREE Full TextGoogle Scholar
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↵Murphy J. TfL could ask Tube and bus passengers to wear higher-grade masks over mutant Covid fears. Evening Standard. 4 Feb 2021. https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/ ... 18598.html.
↵Sodha S. Jeremy Hunt: “This lockdown just isn't working quickly enough.” Observer. 24 Jan 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/ ... ough-covid
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trader32176
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Re: Wearing Face Masks - theory or reality ?

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Coronavirus: Americans could still be wearing face masks into 2022, Fauci says

2/21/21


https://www.kiro7.com/news/trending/cor ... OYSZWA25I/


Despite predicting Americans would return to a “significant degree of normality” by fall, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that it is also “possible” people may still be wearing masks outside their homes into 2022.

“I want it to keep going down to a baseline that’s so low there is virtually no threat,” Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser for COVID-19, told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“If you combine getting most of the people in the country vaccinated with getting the level of virus in the community very, very low, then I believe you’re going to be able to say, for the most part, we don’t necessarily have to wear masks,” Fauci added, referencing the number of COVD-19 cases nationwide that would make him comfortable enough to consider backing away from mask recommendations, The New York Times reported.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19-related fatalities across the nation is expected to eclipse half a million within the next 24 hours, and an estimated 90,000 more Americans are likely to die from the virus by June 1, USA Today reported.

Despite a potentially grim June 1 death toll of nearly 590,000 Americans, the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projected that daily deaths could drop to fewer than 500 by then, compared with the roughly 2,000 deaths per day currently being reported, the outlet reported.

“While it’s possible to reach herd immunity by next winter, it seems increasingly unlikely we will do so and, in light of that, we all need to shift our expectations,” the institute stated.
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