According to a Washington Examiner report, public health officials in the United States highlighted how cloth masks are limiting and pushing for effective use of N95s as the omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.Also Read – India sees drop in COVID cases with over 3.33 Lakh new infections; 525 dead in 24 hours
Officials encouraged the use of cloth masks in the spring of 2020 as a desperate measure to slow the spread of Covid-19 after previously advising against masks and continued to strengthen them in the months that followed. Now, however, more and more experts are saying masks aren’t helpful, according to the report. Also Read – Yoga Tips: 6 Asanas to Recover from Covid 19 and Boost Immunity
“Cloth and surgical masks do absolutely nothing for protection against the ambient virus,” said Chad Roy, a microbiologist at Tulane University School of Medicine, referring to the virus spreading through the air. Also Read – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Cancels Wedding Amid New COVID Restrictions as Omicron Spreads
“This whole song and dance of wearing cloth masks with some presumption that you are protected from the ambient virus is completely and positively 100% contrary to how masks and respirators work.”
The evidence for the superiority of N95 over the cloth mask has been well documented.
In 2015, for example, before the pandemic began, scientists from Australia, Vietnam and China concluded that healthcare workers “should not use cloth masks as protection against respiratory infections. Cloth masks resulted in significantly higher infection rates than medical masks and also performed worse than the control group.”
“Using an N95 gives you some protection bi-directionally, which means if you use an N95 without a one-way valve for exhalation… you are also protected not only from ambient aerosols of a particular size. like expiration if you’re sick, so it’s a duplication of effort in that regard,” Roy said.
President Joe Biden’s administration announced this week that it would prioritize the distribution of 400 million free, high-quality ventilators to be made available at local pharmacies and community health centers.
The millions of N95s would come out of the 750 million masks currently stored in the National Strategic Stock.
The rollout is expected to begin early next month, according to the report.
(With ANI inputs)