Wednesday, 03 March, 2021


Face masks also offer protection for wearers — CDC

Masks protect the wearer as well as other people, as American health officials issue new guidance CDC coronavirus update: Masks protect both wearer and those around them
Patty Aguilar | 12 November, 2020, 18:30

"You protect others", he added.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidance on mask wearing, saying masks and facial coverings are doing much more to keep us safe than initially thought.

COVID-19 is mainly spread through respiratory droplets, which are produced through exhalation, according to the CDC. Infectious disease experts have long said that when a person covers their mouth and nose, it protects those who are around from getting the virus. Almost 52 million people across the globe have tested positive for the virus so far, while 1,28 million deaths have been attributed to it.

"Studies demonstrate that cloth mask materials can also reduce wearers' exposure to infectious droplets through filtration, including filtration of fine droplets and particles less than 10 microns", it said, noting that studies have differed on how effective various masks are, in large part due to variation in experimental design and the particle sizes analyzed. The agency said masks were meant to block virus-laden particles that might be emitted by an infected person. Multi-layer cloth masks can block up to 50 to 70 percent of fine droplets and virus-laden particles.

The CDC has a separate webpage devoted to how to select and properly wear a mask as well as who should wear a mask. When the public uses these masks, it may lead to an inadequate supply for those working on the frontlines.

In spite of this new guidance, there appears to be some incongruencies in the scientific community about beliefs concerning the protection masks can offer for wearers themselves. And the protective benefits of masks are stronger the more people wear masks consistently and correctly, the agency says.

"Multiple layers of cloth with higher thread counts have demonstrated superior performance compared to single layers of cloth with lower thread counts, in some cases filtering almost 50% of fine particles less than 1 micron", the CDC added.

So far, the new US mask guidelines about effectiveness haven't been adopted north of the border, however, wearing masks is more widely accepted here. One study showed two infected hairstylists wearing masks prevented the transmission of the virus to 67 clients. Of the clients, none contracted the virus.

Anchor: Starting from Friday, everyone must wear a mask in public.

In another study of 124 households in Beijing with less than one case of Covid-19, mask use by the patient and family contacts before the patient developed symptoms reduced secondary transmission within the households by 79 per cent.

Further research is needed to identify the combinations of materials that maximize both their blocking and filtering effectiveness, CDC said.

In the guidance report, the CDC adds the adoption of universal masking policies can help prevent future lockdowns "especially if combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and adequate ventilation".

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