Healthy Britons have been told repeatedly during the coronavirus crisis “there is no evidence” that wearing face masks would protect them from infection.
But data from counties that have mandated the wearing of masks suggests that they have helped curb the spread of the virus and keep death rates low.
Austria apparently managed to reverse its crisis by making masks mandatory on April 6, after an outbreak of infections in late March.
In the fortnight since the rule was introduced, the nation’s daily increase in positive cases increased from 90 per million people every day to less than 10.
The Czech Republic and Slovakia were the first two countries in Europe to issue decrees making masks mandatory – and both have lowercase letters infection rate per capita.
Only 63 Czechs per 100,000 were infected and less than two per 100,000 died from the virus.
In Slovakia, 21 per 100,000 people have it and only 0.2 per 100,000 have died from the disease.
In comparison, 182 out of 100,000 Britons were infected and 25 out of 100,000 were victims of the virus.
Similar trends can be observed for non-masked countries outside of Europe, with South Korea and Japan stopping major epidemics without imposing a lockout.
It is a group of 100 well-known doctors who are calling on ministers today to change their guidelines on face masks.
The group wants to encourage the British to make “reusable cotton masks from simple items you can find in your home” and to leave surgical masks for healthcare workers.
Comparison between the UK and other countries wearing masks: Austria made it mandatory to wear one in supermarkets or shops on April 6, after an outbreak of infections in late March. In the fortnight since the rule was introduced, the daily increase in the number of cases in the country has dropped by 90%
The death rate in the United Kingdom is four times that of Austria, the second. More infections directly lead to more deaths
On Sunday, two people are pictured wearing masks on the Clapham Common in London. Ministers to make decision this week on whether to order the use of protective equipment for millions of Britons at work and on public transport
Fewer than eight in 100,000 Japanese people have contracted the virus and 0.1 in 100,000 has been killed. In South Korea, this number is 20 and 0.5 respectively.
China, which has also massively delivered millions of masks to its people, has suffered a major epidemic – more than 80,000 people have caught the virus.
But due to its large population of 1.4 billion, its infection rate and per capita mortality is skewed. Only six out of 100,000 Chinese people were infected and 0.3 per 100,000 died.
THE TRUTH ABOUT FACE MASKS: WHAT STUDIES HAVE SHOWED
Research on the variability of different types of masks and face covers, but recently and in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts are increasingly looking at the notion that something is better than nothing.
A review of the scientific literature at the University of East Anglia found that the masks have a “small protective effect” that could protect the elderly and vulnerable from contracting the virus in crowded places.
Researchers advise people to wear one on public transport, the supermarket or hospitals.
But they say the evidence is not strong enough to recommend widespread use of masks in the general population.
A University of Oxford study released on March 30 found that surgical masks are just as effective at preventing respiratory infections as N95 masks for doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers.
It is too early for their data to be reliable on how they prevent COVID-19 infection, but the study found that thinner, cheaper masks work in flu epidemics.
The difference between surgical or facial masks and N95 masks lies in the size of the particles which can – and above all, cannot – pass through the materials.
N95 respirators are made of a thick, tightly woven, molded material that fits tightly over the face and can stop 95% of all airborne particles, while surgical masks are thinner, looser and more porous.
This makes surgical masks much more comfortable for breathing and working, but less effective at preventing small particles from entering your mouth and nose.
The droplets of saliva and mucus from coughing and sneezing are very small, and the virus particles themselves are particularly small – in fact, they are about 20 times smaller than bacteria.
For this reason, a JAMA study published this month still argued that people without symptoms should not wear surgical masks, as there is no evidence that the equipment will protect them from infection – although it can prevent people who cough and sneeze to infect others.
But Oxford analysis of previous studies – which has yet to be peer reviewed – found that surgical masks were worth wearing and offered no less statistically protective protection than the N95 for healthcare workers around flu patients.
However, any face mask is as good as other health and hygiene practices. Experts universally agree that there is simply no replacement for thorough and frequent hand washing to prevent the transmission of disease.
Some believe that masks can also help “train” people not to touch their faces, while others argue that the unknown garment will just make people do it more, actually increasing the risk of infection.
If the CDC orders Americans to wear masks, this could create a second problem: hospitals are already facing a shortage of masks and other PPE.
It comes after more than 100 renowned British doctors have supported public calls to wear homemade face masks to protect themselves and others from the virus.
They signed a letter saying they were increasingly alarmed by official inaction about the need for the public to wear face masks.
Ministers may make a decision this week on whether to order the use of protective equipment for millions of Britons at work and on public transport.
Doctors spoke before a meeting of government science advisers tomorrow to examine the evidence on whether to make masks mandatory.
Britain is not in line with its guidelines, other European countries, including Germany, Italy and Spain, now recommend their use.
Doctors support Masks4All campaign, which calls for the public to wear “ordinary homemade masks” to help prevent people with the disease from spreading it to others.
The signatories to the letter are John Ashton, former president of the Faculty of Public Health, and Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Their missive to The Times said: “The official policy of the United Kingdom is illogical … The latest directives on PPE [personal protective equipment] says people should wear masks in hospital waiting rooms “to reduce both direct transmission and environmental contamination.” Why not elsewhere?
“Thousands of self-help coronavirus groups could make enough homemade masks for everyone, so it would cost almost nothing. Instructions are readily available, for example, at masks4all.org.uk. ‘
A petition has also been launched by Masks4All urging the government to make masks mandatory in the UK.
The group advises making “reusable cotton masks from simple items you can find in your home,” such as scarves or towels.
Activists emphasize that surgical masks and respirators should be reserved for healthcare professionals.
Authorities across Europe, including Germany, France and Spain, have trusted the masks as part of their post-lock plans.
Coatings are already common in China, Japan and South Korea. Sir Patrick Vallance, chief scientific adviser, warned that the decision is complicated by the lack of evidence that wearing a mask can prevent users from contracting the coronavirus.
However, they can prevent any infected carrier from spreading the virus through coughing and sneezing.
London mayor Sadiq Khan has urged the government to change its advice on masks to help stop the spread of the virus.
He was supported by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who said such a decision would be “reasonable” since social distance may be impossible on trains and buses.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was “inevitable” that the government would have to change its opinion, which currently says masks are only needed in hospitals.
It comes after US health regulators warned parents last week not to put masks on babies during the coronavirus pandemic, as it could suffocate them.
While the general public is advised to wear a mask or face cover when going out to prevent the spread of the infection, pediatricians say it can be harmful to babies.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said infants have airways so small that a mask could do more harm than good, and doctors have warned of suffocation.
How to make your own coronavirus face mask: detailed method of online DIY tutorials for vacuum bag or T-shirt to create protection that, according to leading scientists, is effective against insects
A man is seen using a diaper as a makeshift facial mask in Brooklyn, New York City
IF YOU CAN’T GET A MASK, SHOULD YOU MAKE ONE?
Experts in the United States have suggested that homemade masks could be a powerful defense against coronavirus in the event of a shortage of masks.
A 2013 Cambridge University study found that next to a surgical mask, a vacuum bag provided the best material for a homemade mask.
After a vacuum bag, the tea towels were quite protective, but uncomfortable. The masks in T-shirts were very tolerable, but only worked the third as well as the surgical masks. The researchers concluded that homemade masks should only be used as a “last resort”.
Public Health England still does not recommend that British people wear face masks unless they are infected themselves.
The health organization also does not advise people to use clothing as makeshift masks, as they claim that they offer virtually no protection.
The World Health Organization (WHO) maintains that surgical masks do not prevent people from getting coronavirus.
The United Nations health agency has been forced to examine new evidence from Hong Kong that the mass-market masks could have helped contain the pandemic.
But the WHO maintains that the public should not wear them outside as there is still no evidence that they prevent the infection.
In updated guidelines released earlier this month, the health agency said the masks were only useful to healthcare workers and patients who tested positive.
WHO has recognized that the virus can be transmitted by people who have no symptoms, but said it should always be spread via droplets that can pass through large mask filters or on contaminated surfaces.
According to his new advice, people with symptoms should wear a face mask, isolate themselves and call an ambulance.
Only those caring for someone nearby should wear a mask, according to the WHO.
Although scientists say the vast majority of masks do not have filters that are fine enough to keep viruses from getting in, there is a growing school of thought that they could be useful.
Even if they don’t stop viruses in their path, they could redirect the air flow that could carry them into people’s mouths or noses.
A lower initial dose of the virus has been associated with less severe symptoms in some patients with coronavirus.
Professor Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading, said that mass masks “should now be considered” in the UK.
Warning that the crisis is spreading quickly, he told MailOnline: “Anything that reduces the rate of transmission will put it under control sooner.” “
Professor Jones told MailOnline: “To me, it’s very simple, the epidemic is running. [rampant] and anything that reduces the rate of transmission will put it under control sooner.
“Assuming the correct use of a mask would not do harm and potentially something good, it should be considered.”
The Right Face Mask Guide: While UK Health Officials Consider Urging Everyone to Cover Their Mouth, MailOnline Reveals the Best of the Best Surgical-Level Respirators Costing £ 20 Each or Ten Mouthpieces for £ 1 each
Face masks could soon become a daily sight in Britain, as health officials admit they are reconsidering their advice so people don’t wear them.
In countries like China, Japan and South Korea, wearing face masks while sick is common – East Asia has learned of deadly virus epidemics in the past.
The West, however, is new to the idea, and the coronavirus pandemic has sparked widespread use of face covers in the United States, France and Spain.
Britain’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said on Monday that there was a “continuing review” of official opinions on the masks.
For weeks, the government told people not to bother with them and to make sure there were enough for the hospital and nursing home staff who really needed them.
However, following a relaxation of the position of the World Health Organization, they may soon be recommended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
While it is recognized that there is little they can do to prevent someone from getting the virus, there is evidence that they can prevent people who are already infected from spreading it.
While authorities are considering changing the masks guidelines in Britain, here is what you need to know about the types available and their relative effectiveness:
Two types of masks meet high medical standards – FFP3 and FFP2 / N95. So what’s the difference?
A man wearing a respiratory mask walks along Weston-super-Mare on Easter Sunday
The two main types of medical grade masks on sale in Britain are the FFP3 and FFP2 masks, also called N95.
These are the types doctors and nurses should use when treating patients with coronavirus and provide the most protection against viruses in the air.
They are especially vital during “aerosolization” procedures such as putting on a ventilator, that is, when medical workers are most at risk of breathing viruses.
FFP stands for Filtering Face Piece, FFP3 providing the highest level of protection against viruses and bacterial infections, while FFP2 is the lowest level.
The NHS guidelines are intended for physicians who use FFP3 masks, while FFP2 is recommended by the World Health Organization and is the equivalent of the American N95 mask.
The N in N95 stands for Not Oil Resistant – because the mask is a particulate respirator only and does not protect against fluids – while the 95 means it filters 95% of airborne particles .
Health officials say that when FFP3 is not available, FFP2 can be used. The WHO recommends the FFP2 and N95 respirators, which are widely used in other countries.
The N95 does not have the CE mark to show compliance with European safety standards, but has been tested against standards similar to these requirements.
How to make your own coronavirus face mask: detailed method of online DIY tutorials for vacuum bag or T-shirt to create protection that, according to leading scientists, is effective against insects
The global coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a shortage of protective masks, which has led to a barrage of online tutorials on how to create your own using a t-shirt or pillowcase.
Homemade masks offer much less protection than N95 medical masks, which are made of a thick, tightly woven material that fits over the face and can stop 95% of all airborne particles.
Public Health England still does not recommend that British people wear face masks, except in a medical setting.
But there are good reasons to think that DIY masks could be effective in fighting the pandemic, as they have been widely used in Hong Kong, Mongolia and South Korea, countries where the disease is largely under control. .
MailOnline has studied how you can create your own facial mask using everyday household items such as a t-shirt, kitchen towel or vacuum bags.
How to make a facial mask from a t-shirt
A YouTube tutorial from Runa Ray shows how to create a facial mask without the need for sewing, simply using a plain t-shirt.
First, you need scissors, a pencil and a ruler, and a t-shirt that you don’t mind being used to make a face mask.
Cut a 16 ‘by 4’ rectangle from the middle of the t-shirt, then fold it in half and measure four inches on each side.
Then mark the t-shirt with an even number of tassels on each side and use scissors to cut them.
Turn the t-shirt over and separate the tassels from the corner, but tie the others in between.
Then, with the rest of the t-shirt material, cut ear straps using the hem of the shirt.
Attach the straps to the remaining outer tassels and you yourself have a seamless face mask, using an old t-shirt.
A slightly more complicated method was perfected by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh who also successfully designed a face mask that could be used if “commercial masks” were not available during a virus outbreak.
A woman wearing a mask walks past a closed shop window during the pandemic lockup in Manchester
They used an ordinary cotton t-shirt, which was boiled for 10 minutes and then air-dried to sterilize the material, but also to shrink it.
The researchers used a marker and ruler to measure what they wanted to cut, then formed the mask using an outer layer, then eight inner layers covering the nose and mouth.
The mask requires no sewing and rather implies that it is tied several times around the face.
How to make a facial mask from vacuum bags
By following the simple steps in the graphic, you can create your own facial mask from a t-shirt or vacuum bag,
Even British politicians took part in the act, with Gillian Martin, who is MSP for Aberdeenshire East, describing how she made a face mask from vacuum bags and rubber bands.
She told the Daily Record, “I live in a small village and have been here for over 20 years. I don’t want to worry or offend people when I go out.
“I started to research what other countries were doing and found a table with the best materials to use to make a mask out of anything. “
“Just below the medical equipment was a vacuum bag. I have a lot of them lying around and I found a Hepa-Flow bag that fits right on your Henry ‘vacuum cleaner.
The graph that the MSP refers to from a Cambridge University study that shows which materials work best against virus-sized particles.
The first three are a surgical mask, a vacuum bag and a tea towel.
She added, “I cut the bag and tied it with a rubber band. I live with my family of three who have all isolated themselves, so I made one for each of us. “
Gillian Martin posted about her mask that she made from a vacuum bag
“I did it because I’m nervous about people coming to see me when I walk the dog. I don’t want to have to run away.
Another popular method on YouTube shows how to fold a scarf, using hair bands at each end, to create a simple, easy-to-not-sew mask. The same method can be used with a handkerchief and does not involve any sewing.
How to make a facial mask with a kitchen towel
To do this, you need two layers of a cloth and a tissue.
You cut it in half, then use duct tape at each end to make sure the mask is rigid.
Next, you drill holes at each end of the mask and thread elastic bands through the holes.
Some Japanese women have even published instructions on how to make a facial mask from a bra.The method is simple and involves cutting a cup with scissors and then sewing the straps of the bra so that ‘they can be attached to your face.
What types of masks can you buy online and how much do they cost?
This pack of two FFP3 masks is the best selling product for the type of respirator on Amazon
High quality dust masks now used on the NHS front line: FFP3 masks cost £ 40 for two
FFP3 masks are the benchmark for preventing the spread of airborne diseases in hospitals.
They should fit snugly over the face and have all the air sucked in through a filter that is built into the fabric and captures almost all types of particles as the air flows.
They are mainly used as dust masks in the construction industry.
Masks are not widely available to the public online.
The best list on Amazon – made by Toolpak of Wrexham – has sold both on the market and on the company’s website.
Toolpak masks appear to be sold by a third party for £ 39.99 for a two-pack on Amazon.
The N95 face mask sold for £ 6.99 online is the US equivalent of the FFP2 mask in Europe
3M N95 masks are sold for £ 25.99 for a six pack on Amazon
Standard silver masks used by medical workers in the United States and the United Kingdom: the N95 / FFP2 facial mask costs £ 6.99 each
The N95 facial mask is the US equivalent of the FFP2 mask in Europe and is supported by the World Health Organization as being suitable for medical use.
Its filter is not as strong as FFP3 – it removes 95% of particles, as the name suggests – but it is still highly rated by NHS staff.
UK health officials say FFP2 masks are best after FFP3 and should be used if possible as they have a European seal of approval, but N95, which does not have CE approval, can be used if no FFP2 mask is available.
Masks of this grade are more readily available online from sellers in China.
Amazon’s best seller is an N95 mask sold by HJHY, a company based in China. They cost £ 6.99 but may not be delivered for a month or more. 43% of people who bought the mask rated it only one in five stars.
Another product in the Amazon bestsellers category is a pack of six £ 25.99 N95 masks made by 3M and sold by Hpparty, another company based in China. Delivery dates start in mid-May and there are no customer comments.
These disposable mask covers offer some protection to users against respiratory diseases
Disposable surgical masks still used in most NHS hospitals: ten for £ 9.39
The most well-known type of medical facial mask, known as a surgical mask, is still widely used by the NHS.
Les médecins, les infirmières et les professionnels de la santé doivent désormais porter au minimum ce type de masque en tout temps lorsqu’ils travaillent à proximité de patients atteints de coronavirus confirmés ou suspectés.
Ils sont considérés comme suffisamment efficaces pour la plupart du personnel en dehors des soins intensifs ou qui n’insèrent pas ou ne retirent pas d’équipement respiratoire.
Bien qu’ils n’aient pas de filtres à air intégrés, les masques peuvent arrêter les gouttelettes de liquide, ce qui est la façon dont la majorité des virus COVID-19 se propagent.
Le produit le plus vendu de ce type sous « masques et respirateurs » sur Amazon aujourd’hui est un ensemble de dix pièces de couvre-visage jetables qui coûte 9,39 £.
Le masque – avec une note moyenne de 3,5 étoiles – a une couche intérieure de tissu en coton, une couche intermédiaire de papier filtre médical et une couche extérieure de tissu imperméable. Il est vendu par une société à Londres et livré début mai.
Un autre best-seller est un pack de 20 coûtant 7,97 £ et expédié par une société appelée T-Shell à Guangdong, en Chine.
Ces types de masques ne sont généralement pas réutilisables et ne doivent être utilisés que pendant une journée à la fois.
Les masques de cyclisme peuvent également fournir aux gens une couche de protection contre les particules en suspension dans l’air
Ce masque est en vente pour £ 11.99 sur Amazon
Masques de cyclisme conçus pour filtrer la pollution mais susceptibles d’arrêter les virus: 7,57 £ pour six
Bien que les masques de cyclisme restent non testés en ce qui concerne les coronavirus, ils sont destinés à fournir une couche de protection contre les particules en suspension dans l’air.
Ils sont conçus pour empêcher les cyclistes de respirer de la pollution lorsqu’ils traversent des zones à fort trafic.
Ils contiennent un filtre à air à cet effet, mais ne sont pas réglementés selon la même norme que les masques médicaux. Ils offrent donc différents niveaux de protection.
Les masques de cyclisme de haute qualité, tels que ceux fabriqués par la célèbre marque britannique Cambridge Mask Co., coûtent jusqu’à 20 £ et sont réutilisables. La société a maintenant épuisé tous ses stocks mais prend des précommandes.
D’autres masques de cyclisme sont disponibles sur Amazon, avec le best-seller du site un pack de 7,57 £ de six d’une société appelée Diyii en Chine. L’entreprise affirme que les masques sont bons pour les personnes allergiques à la peau sensible et peuvent être lavés à plusieurs reprises, et conviennent également au camping, à la course, aux voyages et à l’escalade.
Un autre best-seller sur le marché est un masque réutilisable vendu par la firme chinoise KZKR-EU qui coûte 11,99 £ par masque et prétend qu’il livrera dans les deux semaines.
Ce masque à gaz à soupape est censé correspondre à la norme de filtration la plus élevée
Ce masque d’aspect militaire scellé en caoutchouc est en vente pour 29,87 £ sur Amazon
L’option dramatique: masque à gaz respiratoire coûte 34,86 £ pour un
Le masque à gaz est peut-être l’option la plus spectaculaire de tous les masques.
Ceux-ci sont généralement utilisés par des personnes qui pulvérisent de la peinture ou d’autres produits chimiques qu’il serait dangereux d’inhaler ou de travailler dans des environnements dangereux.
Les masques ont des valves intégrées équipées de filtres qui peuvent être capables de retenir les gouttelettes transportant le coronavirus.
La meilleure liste sur Amazon est un masque coûtant 34,86 £ et vendu par SafeYear, une société basée à Shanghai, en Chine. Le masque est classé FFP3, ce qui signifie qu’il conviendrait même aux procédures médicales les plus risquées.
Une autre option en tête de liste sur le site est un masque noir intégral en caoutchouc scellé qui coûte £ 29.87.
Il est vendu par la société Maikoler, basée en Chine, et indique qu’il serait livré fin mai. L’engin d’apparence militaire n’a aucune évaluation client.
Une femme à New York est représentée portant un masque en tissu de fortune
Un homme à Fife, en Écosse, a choqué les acheteurs quand il est arrivé à Asda portant un masque fabriqué à partir d’une serviette hygiénique
T-shirts, bandanas et même serviettes hygiéniques: les masques faits maison peuvent aussi offrir une protection
Beaucoup de gens choisissent de fabriquer des masques à la maison avec du tissu ou d’autres matériaux – certains ont même été photographiés avec des serviettes hygiéniques.
Aux États-Unis, le Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommande aux gens d’utiliser des couvre-visages en tissu lorsqu’ils sortent en public et a même un guide pratique pour que les gens puissent faire leur propre t-shirts ou bandanas.
L’intention de ceux-ci n’est pas spécifiquement de protéger les gens d’attraper le virus, mais d’empêcher sa propagation en encourageant une utilisation si répandue que les personnes infectées mais qui ne le savent pas portent quelque chose qui bloque l’expulsion des virus dans leur respiration.
Cependant, des chercheurs européens ont suggéré que ceux-ci pourraient ne pas être efficaces et que jusqu’à 90% des particules pourraient traverser le tissu.
Le Centre européen de prévention et de contrôle des maladies a déclaré que les taux de maladie étaient beaucoup plus élevés parmi le personnel de santé utilisant des masques en tissu au lieu de masques chirurgicaux.
Il a déclaré: «Dans l’ensemble, les masques en tissu courants ne sont pas considérés comme protecteurs contre les virus respiratoires et leur utilisation ne doit pas être encouragée.
«Dans le contexte de graves pénuries d’équipements de protection individuelle (EPI), et uniquement si des masques chirurgicaux ou des respirateurs ne sont pas disponibles, des masques en tissu faits maison (par exemple des foulards) sont proposés comme solution provisoire de dernier recours par le CDC américain jusqu’à la disponibilité d’EPI standard est restauré. ‘