Experts Call for Better Masks As Pandemic Rolls On

Experts Call for Better Masks As Pandemic Rolls On

Experts Call for Better Masks As Pandemic Rolls On

Abraar Karan, MD, has been treating COVID-19 patients for 10 months. In that time, he hasn’t gotten the virus, and he credits his N95 mask for protecting him.To get more news about nonmedical dust proof mask, you can visit official website.

“I’ve seen more COVID patients than I can count since March, and I get tested regularly, and I’ve not tested positive. I want others to have that kind of protection, too,” says Karan, an internal medicine doctor at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

But N95 masks are in short supply, and Karan says he’s frustrated that high-filtration, or hi-fi, masks aren’t available for the public nearly 1 year into the coronavirus pandemic. Karan recently co-authored an op-ed highlighting his concerns and calling for a national initiative to make masks with higher filtration easier to get -- even having the government send them to people’s homes.

The issue is as relevant today as it was a year ago when the first cases of the coronavirus were identified in the United States. A study released Tuesday in The Lancet found that a 10% increase in mask-wearing makes it 3 times as likely that the coronavirus spread slows.

He says the U.S. needs a more coordinated effort to do two things: protect those wearing masks from getting the virus, and prevent those who have the virus from emitting the droplets and aerosols that spread COVID-19, especially when they’re asymptomatic and don’t know they’re infected.
We've been saying wear a mask, wear a mask. Well, we're now 10 months into this, and we are still just telling people to wear masks that are OK, but they're not the best protection that we can get. We already know that N95-level protection is out there and it is the best,” Karan says. “There is a supply issue -- so fix it.”

Karan says many other countries are taking steps to get better masks to their citizens. In Austria, the government says it will distribute free FFP2 masks (their equivalent of N95s) this month to people over the age of 65. Karan isn’t the only one with this idea. Researchers recently raised the question in The Atlantic, too -- pointing out that cloth masks were supposed to be a “stopgap measure” in the U.S. and that other countries have done far more to get better masks into the hands of their people. Examples include Hong Kong giving lab-tested six-layer masks to the public, Taiwan boosting its mask production to get more high-quality masks to people on a weekly basis, and Germany now requiring people to wear higher-grade masks.

“We are 10 months into this. We should have more comfortable designs that have a higher filtration efficacy,” Karan says. “I've talked to some companies that are working on different mask designs now, trying to get more filters into cloth masks that can provide some electrostatic charge that can stop small particles.”

Engineering problems need to be overcome, but at this point, Karan says, “it’s frustrating that we still don't have products that are going out at any level of scale. How many times have you heard leaders saying, ‘Wear a mask,’ ‘Wear a mask?’ It's easy to say wear masks. Why are we not talking about better masks?”

The CDC recommends that people wear masks in any public setting -- including on buses, trains, and airplanes; at events; and when they’re around others. Multiple studies show that COVID transmission goes down when people wear masks -- 45% in 20 days in one study in Germany. The CDC has also shared data from Arizona and Kansas showing COVID transmission rates falling in areas where mask mandates are put in place.


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