Coronavirus: New strain ‘significantly more risky’ says expert
Research published by New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG)suggests the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 first discovered in Kent is more deadly than previous variants. The finding may help to explain the rise in daily hospital deaths seen in the UK despite ongoing lockdown restrictions. Following this development, a prominent epidemiologist in the US is calling for stronger face coverings.
Epidemiologist & Health Economist Eric Feigl-Ding took to Twitter on Sunday to demand the rollout of more “premium masks”.
“I’ve been saying it for months. We need to switch to KN95, KF94, or European FFP2 masks ASAP,” Feigl-Ding wrote.
Feigl-Ding cites research that shows these masks provide 94 to 95 percent filtration.
A number of studies have demonstrated the efficacy of these masks.
We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.
One study published in the Lancet medical journal in June compared transmission rates across 16 countries and found that “both N95 and surgical masks have a stronger association with protection compared with single-layer masks.”
A separate study conducted by Duke University in August compared the efficacy of different face coverings and found that fitted N95 masks were the most effective.
What’s more, normal surgical masks are about three times more effective than cloth masks in preventing the spread of virus droplets, according to a 2013 study.
Feigl-Ding echoed this sentiment on Twitter.
Coronavirus new strain symptoms: Three signs you’ve had it [INSIGHT]
Covid new strain symptoms: Dr Chris warns of photophobia [ADVICE]
Best supplements for hair growth: Pumpkin seed oil increases hair growth [TIPS]
“Cloth isn’t enough anymore folks,” he wrote.
As Feigl-Ding explained, N95 masks are more rare outside of hospitals because they are in shortage and needed by healthcare workers.
“You might find some NIOSH N95 from wood working, but note those are often not fluid resistant,” he said.
Feigl-Ding added: “Like Germany and Austria, in France, the country’s health advisory council on Monday discouraged the wearing of inefficient cloth and homemade masks, also arguing they may not offer sufficient protection against the more highly transmissible coronavirus variants.”
Why should I wear a face mask?
As Public Health England (PHE) explains, face coverings are largely intended to protect others, not the wearer, against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of virus that causes coronavirus infection (COVID-19).
The regulations are different depending on the type of product.
Surgical (medical) face masks are mainly intended for health care staff to wear to protect patients during surgical procedures and other medical settings, explains PHE.
In England you must wear a face covering in the following indoor settings (examples are given in brackets):
- Public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams and buses)
- Taxis and private hire vehicles
- Transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime Ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
- Shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
- Shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
- Auction houses
- Premises providing hospitality (bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes), except when seated at a table to eat or drink (see exemptions)
- Post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and Accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
- Estate and lettings agents
- Premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (hair salons, Barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
- premises providing veterinary services
- Visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, Cinemas, theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, aquariums, Indoor zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, adventure Activity centres, indoor sports stadiums, funfairs, theme parks, casinos, Skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas)
- Libraries and public reading rooms
- Places of worship
- Funeral service providers (funeral homes, crematoria and burial ground chapels)
- Community centres, youth centres and social clubs
- Exhibition halls and conference centres
- Public areas in hotels and hostels
- Storage and distribution facilities.
You are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until you leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it.
You should also wear a face covering in indoor places not listed here where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
Face coverings are needed in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings, such as GP surgeries. They are also advised to be worn in care homes.
Source: Read Full Article