Why improve your mask when the Omicron variant is spreading

CNN medical researcher Dr. Lena Wen, an attending physician and professor of emergency at the George Washington University Milkon Institute School of Health Policy and Management, said: “Cloth masks are little more than facial makeup.

“This is what scientists and public health officials have been saying for months, months, in fact,” Wen said in a separate phone interview.

“We have to wear at least a three-layer surgical mask,” he said, also known as a disposable mask, and can be found at most drugstores and some grocery and retail stores. “On top of that you can wear a cloth mask, but not just a cloth mask.”

Ideally, in crowded places, “you should wear a KN95 or N95 mask,” which can be as cheap as a few dollars each, Wen added. Better fit and some materials – such as polypropylene fibers – act as mechanical and electrical barriers, making these masks work better. Prevent small particles It must be fitted to your face to function properly from entering your nose or mouth.

Changing guidance

In the first few months of infection, health professionals Encouraged the general public Since purchasing N95 masks, medical professionals have been facing a shortage of personal protective equipment. But “it’s been (is) several months since the N95s were issued, a problem,” Wen said.
More US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The most recent guidance It is recommended to avoid N95 masks when choosing, properly wearing, cleaning and storing masks, and to choose two or more washable masks instead – this is what Wen called a “big mistake”.

“If we’ve going to say that masks are needed – when we do not come from a culture of wearing masks and people do not want to wear masks – at least we recommend that they wear the most effective. Mask,” Wen said.

In other countries, Including Germany And Austria, He added, “in some organizations” covering the face in general has changed their standard to be at least a medical quality surgical mask. “

CNN has approached the CDC for recommendations regarding N95s and fabric masks, still awaiting feedback.

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Another factor contributing to the change in mask recommendations is a better understanding of Covit-19 and how it spreads, said Erin Promaz, an associate professor of biology at Dortmouth University in Massachusetts. “It will take a long time for people to assess the nature of the airborne infection – it’s not a hybrid infection, say the flu, both of which are spread by droplets, inhaled little by little, and spread over surfaces,” he said. “It appears … (corona virus) shared air is the primary driver of infection.”

Pre-infection-promoted fabric masks – can filter out large droplets, while highly effective masks such as N95s can filter out both large droplets and small aerosols or virus-containing particles that spread through the air, Victor said. A fabric mask has 75% inward and outward leakage American Conference of Government Industrial Health Professionals Defines as “percentage of particles entering the mask” and “percentage of particles emitted by the source exiting the mask”, respectively.
Properly fitted with N95 respirators approved by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, it can filter up to 95% of airborne particles. CDC. Bromage said surgical or disposable masks are 5% to 10% less effective than N95 respirators. ASTM International Classification – Type 1, 2 and 3 rank surgical masks are the least effective.
It has been 20 months since the epidemic and the world is still debating why masks

It is “currently unknown” why the Omigron variant affects so many people so quickly, but it only underscores the role that quality masks can play, Promage said.

“If it requires less virus, or if an infected person expels more virus, what is the role of the mask in this, if you can actually reduce the amount you breathe, you will have more time,” he added. “If you needed 1,000 virus particles to infect you, you’re wearing a 50% reduction product, now it’s twice as long to reach that 1,000. If you were wearing one that was 90% effective, you’re around someone (infected). It takes at least 10 times longer for an infection to occur. “

“We need to promote the best high quality masks everywhere because now a layered fabric mask does not reduce it against Omigran,” former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said Thursday. CNN AC360. “We need more testing. We need a better mask. How do we get past this.”

Change your fabric masks

National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety a List of approved N95 respirators, Can be found in some home improvement stores, retailers and drug stores. These masks should have the shape of a cup, flat fold or duck bill; Two straps that go around your head; Adjustable wire nose bridge; And appropriate signs indicating NIOSH approval, The The CDC says.
The company also has the resources to determine Is the N95 respirator fake?, And to put it properly, and to remove Respiratory seal verification.
The difference between N95 and KN95 respirators is that the mask is in a certified location. Oklahoma State Department of Health. The United States certifies the N95, while China recognizes the KN95. About 60% of KN95 respirators in the United States are counterfeit and do not meet NIOSH requirements. The CDC says. CDC is a List of symptoms A KN95 respirator is not approved by NIOSH.

“If they are standardized and certified by appropriate boards like NIOSH here, they all basically do the same thing,” Bromage said. “But there are a ton of knockoffs that are not certified to the KN95 standard, which may meet the standards, but they are not certified to meet that. And there are others that do not.”

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The recommendation of these experts to wear the best masks is not to trash your fabric masks or go “maskless” when a medical quality mask is not available.

In studies of different masks, multi-layer and high-thread fabric masks have “shown better performance compared to single-layer fabric with lower thread count”, but are still less effective than medical quality masks. CDC. Wearing a cloth mask over a medical practice mask, as Wen recommends, can better protect you and others by improving fit, so the filtering ability, the CDC says.

“If you have a cloth mask, it’s better than anything,” Wen said. “But you’re not well protected, you need to know that you are not well protected. So if you go to a crowded indoor setting, if you have a cloth mask, do not go.”

If for any reason you can not afford medical quality masks, go where you need the masks and give them away for free – such as at some train stations, grocery stores or businesses – and ask for a surgical mask, Wen suggested. .

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