What type of facial mask will best protect you from coronavirus? | News from the world


No matter what type of mask you wear?

Yes. Different types of masks offer different levels of protection. N95 surgical grade respirators provide the highest level of protection, preventing the user from being infected with Covid-19, followed by surgical grade masks. However, these masks are expensive, in limited quantities, contribute to landfill waste and are uncomfortable to wear for long periods. Thus, even countries that have demanded that the public wear face masks have generally suggested that these masks should be reserved for health workers or those who are particularly exposed.

The evidence for the protective value of disposable paper masks or reusable fabric coverings is less clear, but still suggests that face masks may help reduce the transmission of Covid-19. An analysis by the Royal Society this week revealed that it included homemade cloth masks.

Are single-use paper surgical masks better or is a fabric mask OK?

The evidence for any use of masks, apart from surgical masks, continues to emerge: there seems to be some benefit, but the exact parameters of the masks are the best and the extent to which they protect the wearer or those who wear them. surround are still being calculated. outside. A tighter fit around the face is probably better, but the CDC suggests that any blanket, including a bandana, is better than nothing.

R, or “effective reproductive number,” is a way to assess the ability of a disease to spread. This is the average number of people to whom an infected person will pass the virus. For an R greater than 1, an epidemic will experience exponential growth. Anything less than 1 and an epidemic will go away – eventually.

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the estimated R for coronavirus was between 2 and 3 – higher than the value of seasonal influenza, but lower than that of measles. This means that each person would pass it on to between two and three people on average, before recovering or dying, and each of those people would pass it on to two or three other people, causing a snowball over time.

The reproduction number is not fixed, however. It depends on the biology of the virus; people’s behavior, such as social isolation; and public immunity.

Hannah Devlin Scientific correspondent

An American study looked at household materials that best removed 0.3-1.0 microns in diameter, the typical size of viruses and bacteria, and concluded that the right options include vacuum bags, Thick “quilt cotton” or more than one layer of material. Scarves and bandanas were less effective, but still captured a fraction of the particles.

How do you put them on and take them off safely?

Before putting on a mask, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Cover your mouth and nose with your mask and make sure there is no space between your face and the mask. Avoid touching the mask when using it, and if you do, wash your hands. Replace the mask when it is wet. To remove your mask, remove it using elastic labels, without touching the front and immediately throw it in a closed container or, if the mask is reusable, directly in the washing machine.

How often should you wash the masks?

They should be washed after each use. The US Center for Disease Control suggests “regularly”.

Is there an environmental concern?

Many commercially available masks are made from layers of plastic and are designed to be disposable. According to an analysis by scientists at University College London, if everyone in the UK used a disposable mask every day for a year, an additional 66,000 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste would be created. According to the UCL team, led by Professor Mark Miodownik, the use of reusable masks by the general population would considerably reduce plastic waste and the impact on climate change of any political requirement concerning the wearing of face masks . They say that according to the best evidence, reusable masks perform most of the tasks of single-use masks without the associated waste stream.


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