Tuesday, 16 April 2024
    Should we be using N95 masks?

    Should we be using N95 masks?

    In the US, a number of leading health experts are urging people to upgrade from cloth masks to N95s, or similar products, amid concerns that cloth masks just don’t cut it against the highly virulent COVID-19 strain, ABC News reports.

    Some US buildings, such as the famed Mayo Clinic health centre, won’t let people inside if they’re wearing a bandana or cloth mask.

    As the new variant pushes cases to record highs, 1.4 million Americans contracted COVID 19 on Monday, the highest daily count of any nation so far, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    “Omicron is such an incredibly infectious agent, probably the most contagious pathogen on Earth,” said Lawrence Gostin, professor of global health law at Georgetown University and the director of the World Health Organization Center on Global Health Law.

    “A cloth mask is doing virtually nothing at this stage.

    “Against Delta, it was only about 20 to 30 per cent effective, if that. And certainly, with Omicron, it has negligible effectiveness.”

    Professor Gostin said people need to ditch their cloth masks now in favour of a more-effective face covering.

    Which masks are best?

    Understanding the various options and array of letters associated with the higher-grade products can be confusing.

    N95 masks, also referred to as respirators, are certified according to US standards.

    In Australia, an N95 is sometimes referred to as a P2 mask, and is considered the best option on the market.

    But you might see other options on the shelves or online.

    The masks are made from multi-layered interwoven synthetic material and filter out or capture about 95 per cent of airborne particles.

    That means if one of these masks is worn correctly, they will provide a very high level of protection against exposure to the virus.


    Omicron is forcing many Americans to dump their cloth masks for N95s. Should Australians follow? (ABC News)


    onderortel / MaxPixel