Debate over masks for delta variant of the Corona virus
Once again, the debate over masks has started with the world facing an increase in covid cases of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus. Many experts say that regardless of the corona vaccination status, everybody should wear any masks but good quality masks like N95 respirators.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine and an infectious-disease expert at the University of California at San Francisco, expressed a similar sentiment: “We can’t say we’re going back to masks without discussing the type of mask.”
Vaccinations, experts emphasized, remain the first line of defense against the coronavirus. “Far and away, the best prevention we have are still the vaccines,” said Paul Sax, clinical director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “All of these things pale in comparison to getting the remaining people who are eligible for vaccination vaccinated.”
Chris Cappa, an environmental engineer and professor at the University of California at Davis tells us that "it’s a fantastic idea to move towards higher-quality masks, especially if you are unvaccinated or otherwise vulnerable to severe diseases". To prepare ourselves to face this delta variant, it’s a fantastic idea to move towards higher-quality masks, especially if you are unvaccinated or vulnerable to severe diseases. And for fully vaccinated individuals who may still be at risk of breakthrough infections, he noted, “the delta variant is a good reminder that we shouldn’t necessarily quit wearing masks when we’re in environments that might be prone to transmission.”
Linsey Marr, an aerosol expert, said medical-grade respirators such as N95 masks could provide more excellent protection from infectious coronavirus particles than surgical masks or cloth masks.
As we know, the delta variant is much more transmissible than previously circulating strains of coronavirus,” we need highly protective masks along with everything else".
A simple cloth mask was helpful for those who remain unvaccinated before but not with the new delta variant coronavirus. Experts say properly worn N95 masks have a leg up on standard surgical masks because they are designed to fit snugly to the face.
Linsey Marr an aerosol expert at Virginia Tech says, woven material of many cloth masks isn’t as effective at filtering particles as the nonwoven, melt-blown polypropylene used to make surgical masks and respirators.
As we all know, our faces aren’t in the shape of a rectangle, but these surgical masks are just in the form of a rectangle, so as a result, you inevitably end up with lots of leaks.
It also noted that it is essential to be wary of counterfeit respirators. The Centers for disease control and prevention has an online guide with lists of N95 masks approved by the national institute for occupational safety and health.
It is noted that the KN95 masks, which are manufactured in china, can be equivalent to N95 ineffectiveness, but they have not gone through the NIOSH approval process. During the pandemic, KN95 masks had been authorized by food and drug administration for emergency use by healthcare workers when there was a shortage of N95 masks.
Chris Cappa (environmental engineer) said,” I can have higher confidence that it is high quality,” and “the ability and ease to get N95s has gone way up”.
As suggested by experts, we should be aware of wearing the N95 masks properly,” there should be no gaps between the edges of the mask and your face.”
The aerosol expert, Linsey Marr suggested that if breathing becomes noticeably more complicated, that’s a sign that the mask likely isn’t well fitted. Therefore, people who wear glasses can also gauge how their mask is leaky and how much their lenses fog up.
We all know that N95 masks aren’t washable like those cloth masks, so it is recommended to swap out an N95 mask every three days as long as it doesn’t become soiled.
If there is any visible wear and tear, it is advisable to get a fresh mask. It’s important to wash or sanitize your hands while handling masks and avoid touching the front of masks.
It is an excellent idea to switch to an N95 mask for more vulnerable people; this includes unvaccinated as well as those who are vaccinated but may be at increased risk.
Sax said,” if they need to be in settings where they’re mixing with unvaccinated people, or they don’t know the vaccination status, then upgrading their mask is very reasonable.”
Chris Cappa says combining “really almost any mask-wearing “and vaccination still” provide generally quite good protection.”
Vaccinated, low-risk individuals must make decisions about upgrading their masks according to their situation factors. We should always keep in mind community rates of transmission, hospitalization, and the longer you’re in an enclosed space in proximity to other people, should also be considered because there are more chances your odds of catching something go up.
As we see, these N95 masks seem to be the gold standard; the respirators, which can become uncomfortable after prolonged use -may not be appropriate for all vulnerable populations. For instance, if you take” children who are not eligible to receive vaccines but old enough to wear masks.
It is noted that there has been no approval from NIOSH to any respiratory protection, such as N95, for use among children. It’s seen that standard N95 masks are likely to be too big to fit tightly on a child’s face.
An expert, Monica Gandhi a professor of medicine and an infectious-disease expert at the University of California at San Francisco said , “you should prioritize making mask-wearing because any face covering has to be worn properly to be effective.” palatable for children and easier to do”. When a child is immunocompromised, increasing protection with a three-layer mask made of tightly-woven fabric outer layers mindful that the filet layer needs to be replaced when the mask is washed is a good idea. It is to remember that children are generally less susceptible to contracting the contagious coronavirus.
Moving forward, this conversation should center on other factors that affect the spread of coronavirus when it reaches the public. Sax said, “a lot of the focus on transmission should shift not so much to the mask-wearing or not mask-wearing, but the activities people are doing such as dining indoors or holding parties.”
So with this, we can conclude that to stay safe from this coronavirus, one should take some steps as prevention, and one of the critical aspects of this preventive method is to wear a mask when we step outside of our homes. so with a brave heart and a durable mask let’s face this coronavirus once again