Can wearing a mask prevent coronavirus? It is a question that many people are asking and more since COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that emerged in China has spread to many countries, including Spain.
In the first case we are considering, that of the surgical mask, the answer is NO, according to Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University in Tennesse, United States.
The best masks to prevent infections against coronavirus
However, if we talk about a more specialized mask, such as those that include a respirator with N95 protection, the answer is that they can protect against the coronavirus, also called SARS-CoV-2. And the reason is precisely that it has an FFP2 or FFP3 filter and its respirator is wider than a surgical mask.
Types of masks
- Simple and loose masks, sometimes called surgical masks
- Tighter N95 protection respirators that filter 95 percent of airborne particles
- And reusable masks that are sometimes advertised as dust masks
The interest in masks is understandable, although the use of a mask by a healthy person is probably more uncomfortable than effective. If we are not sick or take care of people who are, wearing a mask has its disadvantages.
This is what you need to know:
Surgical masks, for example, have a loose fit, which means that liquid droplets, such as those that a person expels when coughing, and for which it is believed that the coronavirus is transmitted, can seep from the sides of the mask .
N95-protected respirators are more comfortable, but can be difficult to adjust properly. In fact, health workers must perform an annual test to show that they can properly adjust the device and create a complete seal against side leaks.
In addition, facial masks can be uncomfortable, so you may have to adjust them frequently.
Or you can take it off to eat or drink and put it back on later. That frustrates the purpose according to medical experts, since people become more contaminated by touching the mask and removing it from the face.
As for the washable cloth masks that we can see for sale, some scientific evidence suggests that reusable masks are not the best option. A study at The BMJ in 2015 found that health workers who wore cloth masks were more likely to become infected with respiratory diseases than those who wore disposable surgical masks, even when workers washed them at the end of each of their shifts.
Comparison of coronavirus masks
What is a Wuhan coronavirus?
China’s coronavirus, also called Wuhan pneumonia or COVID-19, belongs to the coronavirus family. The outbreak generated alarm precisely because this family of viruses is the same as the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which appeared in China and killed hundreds of people between 2002 and 2003 and set off the global alarm.
But the truth is that this family also includes the common cold, a disease with much less alarming associations.
In addition to SARS, coronaviruses have another human-related history, which is the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The first case of MERS was confirmed in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and, according to WHO, has a 35% mortality rate.
How is it spread?
Initially, WHO reported that there was no accurate information on whether the virus was transmissible or not among humans. However, China later confirmed that the virus is spread among humans.
The spread of this virus then occurs in the same way as others: by contact.
That is why prevention lies in taking care of oneself as is usually done with respiratory infections or rhinitis: “People have to have hand hygiene
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
As it comes from the same family as a common cold, the symptoms are similar and therefore can be easily confused at a first stage.
The specific page on coronavirus from the WHO indicates that “common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, breathing problems and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. ”
This new strain of the virus is characterized by producing the symptoms of a severe respiratory infection; The biggest complication is that there is still no treatment protocol.
According to the WHO, the incubation period varies between 1 and 12.5 days, with an estimated average of 5-6 days, but the estimates are adjusted as new cases arise.
Wuhan virus mortality rate
The mortality rate, so far, has been around three percent, but it is a fact that tends to fluctuate: they increase at first as the most vulnerable patients die, then fall and then increase again as others die, he explained Alessandro Vespignani, professor at Northeastern University.
There is currently no vaccine available for this virus. There is also no specific treatment, according to the MSP.
There were several attempts to create a vaccine to stop the epidemic. The last one was the pharmacist Moderna Inc., who sent the first batch of her rapidly developed and experimental coronavirus vaccine to US Government researchers. Soon, they will launch the first tests in humans to analyze if it could help suppress the epidemic originating in China, the company said in a statement.
How to prevent the new coronavirus?
WHO developed a question and answer guide for those who want to learn about the new virus. It explains the “standard” precautions to be taken to avoid contagion: wash your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing (if using a tissue, throw it away) and wash your hands immediately), keep a distance of at least one meter with other people, particularly those who cough, sneeze and have a fever, also avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.