Cloth Face Masks Not Effective Enough Against Omicron Covid Variant- Health Experts Reveal
By Uganda Online Media
President Yoweri Museveni has appointed Maj Tom Magambo who has been in the Internal Security Organisations(ISO) as the new police Criminal Investigations Director.
“President Museveni has promoted Private Tom Magambo to the rank of Major and appointed him Director Criminal Investigations of the Uganda Police Force,” the acting UPDF spokesperson, Lt Col Ronald Kakurungu said in a statement.
Kampala: With the Omicron variant spreading so easily, at least one expert says cloth masks just don’t cut them anymore.
“The typical cloth mask might be 50 percent effective and that was OK before,” said Dr. Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech.
“It doesn’t seem to be enough with Omicron. We have special masks called respirators, such as N95 that offer much greater protection. They’re able to block 95 percent of particles that are either going out of your mouth or that you’re breathing in,” she said.
Dr. Marr studies how viruses move in the air. She says other respirators are also widely available.
“Things like the KN95, which is the Chinese version of the US N95 it has ear loop straps and it’s made out of a special material that’s very efficient at filtering out particles. It also is designed to fit closely to your face. There’s a South Korean version called the KF94 that some people call the boat-shaped respirator,” she said.
Three-ply surgical masks can also help prevent contact with infected droplets.
“There are ways to really improve the performance of a surgical mask by improving its fit. One way is to use some little kind of clips or toggles on the ear loops so that you can tighten it up so it pulls closer to your face,” Dr. Marr said.
The fit is critical for all of these masks, to ensure the strongest possible protection.
“What you need is to have a good seal, especially around your nose, and you want to make sure there aren’t gaps at the sides of your cheeks or at your chin,” said Dr. Marr.
As for kids, Dr. Marr says also choose a good mask that’s comfortable, with good fit and filtration. Some respirators are designed for kids, but N95’s are not designed for younger children.
What The CDC Is Saying
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has continued to promote cloth masks as part of personal protective equipment the general masses can use amid the ongoing pandemic. The public health agency also recommends disposable face masks, such as surgical masks or medical procedure masks.
However, the CDC has also updated its online guidance to indicate that when supplies are available, people should choose the basic N95 respirators over cloth masks, especially when they are in high-risk places and areas, or if they are at a higher risk of suffering severe illness due to underlying medical conditions.
The agency also indicated on its website that specially labeled “surgical” N95 respirators should be prioritized for healthcare workers because they have a higher chance of being exposed to the novel coronavirus in their workplace.