Over the past months, some new coronavirus variants appeared in several countries that caused worry among the experts general public. However, experts believe that vaccines can help fight against these variants as well. The new coronavirus mutants have a better ability to transmit among people and caused more infections.
These mutants are now spreading all over the world but the main countries struggling with them are South Africa and the UK. Due to the improved transmission ability of these viruses, many countries are revising their guidelines to tackle these new strains better. Recently, Austria, Germany, and France updated their guidelines regarding protective face masks. These countries now require the public to wear N95 masks or medical-grade masks to prevent the spread of the updated strains. Previously, people used regular face masks such as disposable or cloth ones in these countries.
In the US, the situation seems under control regarding the new variants and the government did not update any guidelines. However, the US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing double and triple-layer face masks to avoid infection. For now, the guidelines related to face coverings remain the same in the US. One of the reasons could be the fact that the health facilities do not want to run out of medical-grade masks. Health care workers are required to wear these covering more than the general public as they face a greater risk.
In the US, some regions and states have a shortage of these N95 masks in medical facilities. Recommending these masks can create a bigger shortage in health care facilities and reduce the supply. However, the question arises if the US government should update their guidelines about the face coverings due to the new variants.
Experts suggest that people with any pre-existing health conditions or older adults should prefer a medical-grade mask to prevent the infection. Also, the increased distribution of these masks and more production can help cover the shortage or limited supply. According to a study, N95 masks block 95% of the infectious particles in the air when they fit properly. The mask should seal against the face to provide maximum protection against the virus. However, if the general public starts wearing those masks without proper training and guidelines, they will not attain the maximum benefits. Meanwhile, cloth or disposable masks also provide significant protection as they completely cover the mouth and nose area.
Previous studies show that properly fit masks provide the best protection against coronavirus infection. Also, they can protect significantly against the new coronavirus variants. Experts also suggest wearing face masks during exercise as they do not cause any hindrance.
Some experts recommended guidelines to make sure you have adequate protection against the virus. This includes wearing a mask made of washable material and tightly woven fabric. Also, the mask should have multiple layers to ensure the blockage of air-borne particles. The masks should fit perfectly against the skin as well while covering all openings. This helps prevent the leakage of any particles. These guidelines can help improve the efficacy of any face covering against the coronavirus.