Face mask doctors warn people against use before new rules in England

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Experts have warned that some face coverings are not as effective as others, ahead of new rules coming into force in England next week. From July 24, anyone visiting a supermarket or store will have to cover their face or face a fine of £ 100.

The new rules aim to stop the spread of the coronavirus, amid fears of a second peak.

Deaths have fallen from the coronavirus in recent weeks, but the government has acted with more people in stores, and with manicure salons and tattoo studios now open.

Store workers will be asked to call the police on any customer who does not cover their face after the government announced the new rules.

WHO recommends a three-layer face coating in the community – the outer layer must be water resistant, the inner layer must be water absorbent and the middle layer acts as a filter, reports CoventryLive.

He stresses that a face covering alone cannot protect people from Covid-19 and must be combined with social distancing of at least one meter and regular hand washing.

The government said the blankets can be made from scarves, bandanas or other fabric items, as long as they cover the mouth and nose.

But scientists at the Leverhulme Center, who have studied different types of face coverings used by members of the public, say some coverings are not as effective as others, with loosely woven fabrics, such as scarves, which are are found to be the least effective.

What face coverings don’t work?

Professor Melinda Mills, Director of the Leverhulme Center, said: “You also have to pay attention to how it fits on the face; it should be wrapped around the ears or around the neck for better coverage. ”

She added, “We find that masks made from high quality materials such as high quality cotton, multiple layers and especially hybrid constructions are effective.

“For example, the combination of cotton and silk or flannel provides more than 95% filtration, so wearing a mask can protect others. “

So the rest works?

A recent report published by the Royal Society suggests that even basic, homemade masks can reduce transmission if enough people wear them in public.

The study, based on mathematical modeling, showed that if an entire population wore facial coverings that were only 75% effective, it would raise the R-value, which is the number of people an infected individual transmits. the virus, from 4.0 to less. 1.0, without the need for locking.

Meanwhile, another study that looked at coronavirus deaths in 198 countries found that countries that had policies favoring the wearing of masks had lower death rates.

In another scientific research article, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last month, scientists calculated that wearing face covers prevented more than 78,000 infections in Italy between April 6 and 9 May, and over 66,000 infections in New York City. between April 17 and May 9.

Dr. Julian Tang, associate professor of respiratory science at the University of Leicester, said wearing face covers in public places could keep the R value below 1 by creating “artificial herd immunity”.

He said: “If you look at other countries outside the UK – like Japan or Hong Kong – they have much higher masking percentages and are well below the epidemic curves of the West. ”

But Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor of cell microbiology at the University of Reading, said that while facial coverings can reduce the spread of cough droplets, strong epidemiological evidence on their benefits is still lacking.

He told the PA News Agency: “You can see that they (the facial covers) are mechanically obvious, but that’s not confirmed by what’s really going on.

“What is really important is that you have the right mask, fitted correctly and changed regularly. “

Are there any advantages to wearing them?

Experts say the risk of transmitting the coronavirus appears to be higher in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and wearing headwear in small stores or closed malls could help reduce the spread.

Keith Neal, Emeritus Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, said: “The lack of strong evidence for their effectiveness should not be seen as a problem, but the evidence is mounting that they have a role to play in reducing transmission and also to protect the wearer. ”

In addition, a growing body of evidence suggests that many people with the virus who do not have symptoms can still be contagious.

Professor Neal told the AP that while the evidence for the benefits of wearing face masks is “more favorable than definitive,” he adds that “it is asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic people where the mask is most beneficial in terms of of public health ”.

At the same time, a report, published last month by the Leverhulme Center for Demographic Science at the University of Oxford, noted: “Besides hand washing and social distancing, face masks and coverings are one of the interventions not most widely adopted pharmaceuticals to reduce the transmission of respiratory infections. “

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