Omicron: Use Thick Medical Masks, Cloth Masks are Not Effective Against COVID-19 variant, Experts Advise

Omicron: Use Thick Medical Masks, Cloth Masks are Not Effective Against COVID-19 variant, Experts Advise

  • Heath and medical experts have warned that cloth masks are not as effective as previously thought against the Omicron variant of COVID-19
  • They have, instead, advocated the use of thick medical masks to ensure that they are effectively protected
  • The experts say lab researches on COVID-19 usually carried out by medical personnel are done wearing three-layer masks

If you are dependent on cloth masks to shield you from the rampaging Omicron variant of the COVID-19, you may need to have a rethink as medical and health experts have poured cold water on their use.

Cloth masks not effective against Omicron
Cloth masks not effective against Omicron. Credit: BBC
Source: UGC

Experts warn

The experts, however, encouraged the use of three-layer masks in the fight against the Omicron variant and asked people to use them.

According to CNN’s medical analyst, Dr Leana Wen, cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. There’s no place for them in the light of Omicron. And so, she asked people to wear a high-quality mask, at least a three-ply surgical mask.

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On Monday, December 20, 2021, Deleana Wen clarified on Twitter, that her point isn’t that people don’t need masks, but rather that they should require masks that are most effective to prevent disease transmission.

Everyone, including children, should be wearing at least, a three-ply surgical mask when indoors and around others of unknown vaccination status.

Real life studies

Ashley Styczynski, an infectious disease fellow at Stanford University told Bloomberg in October that there are very few real-world studies examining the impact of cloth face coverings.

Styczynski said:

“Various laboratories have measured the filtration efficiency of different cloth materials used in masks. Cloth materials typically block 10-30 per cent of aerosol-sized particles that contribute to [the] airborne spread of SARS-CoV-2.”

Medical experts say that lab studies have shown that surgical masks, such as N95’s, block around 95 per cent of aerosol-sized particles.

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Dr Sunil Joshi,The president of the Duval County Medical Society Foundation, told WJXT that most of the studies where they are looking at the spread of viruses are done with KN95 masks so they have better data with those as opposed to the cloth masks.

Sunil Joshi said:

“The cloth masks may or may not always be well-fitting, so there is always that potential concern. It’s hard to know exactly how much but it’s certainly something where the data supports wearing a KN95 mask”

Omicron hits Nigeria has reported that Nigeria has been included in the United Kingdom (UK)'s red list of countries following the discovery of Omicron variant of COVID-19 cases linked to it.

The British government made the announcement in a statement shared on the UK government's website on Saturday, December 4, in a bid to tackle the spread of the virus.

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According to Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, all international arrivals to the UK will now be required to take pre-departure COVID-19 tests from 4:00am on Monday, December 6, 2021.


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