Face Masks With ‘Holes’ Ineffective -NCDC Warns | Read Details

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control warns that the use of face masks with valves is ineffective, as it allows the wearer’s breath to leave the mask, thereby putting those around at risk of catching COVID-19.

The Web MD, an Online portal, says while a face mask won’t totally block the coronavirus, it serves as an added layer of protection for the wearer and the people around when used along with regular handwashing and social distancing measures like staying six feet away from others.

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN reports that the NCDC says COVID-19 does not care if a person believes in the use of face masks or not. NAN quotes NCDC as saying:

“You may not believe in the virus, but the virus sure believes in you. Do not wear masks with valves.

Why? Because a valve acts as an open doorway, allowing your breath to leave the mask and putting those around you at risk of catching COVID-19. Face masks can prevent coronavirus transmission and save lives.”

According to Science Alert, quoting the Business Insider, preliminary analysis of 194 countries found that places where masks weren’t recommended saw a 55 percent weekly increase in coronavirus deaths per capita after their first case was reported, compared with seven percent in countries with cultures or guidelines supporting mask-wearing.

“A model from the University of Washington predicted that the US could prevent at least 45,000 coronavirus deaths by November if 95 percent of the population were to wear face masks in public,” the portal reported.

However, experts say not all masks confer equal levels of protection. Science Alert says:

“The ideal face mask blocks large respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes – the primary method by which people pass the coronavirus to others – along with smaller airborne particles, called aerosols, produced when people talk or exhale.”

The World Health Organisation recommends medical masks for healthcare workers, elderly people, people with underlying health conditions, and people who have tested positive for the coronavirus or show symptoms.

A medical face mask

Healthy people who don’t fall into these categories should wear a fabric mask, according to WHO. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends cloth masks for the general public.

But even cloth masks vary, since certain types are more porous than others, experts say.

SEE ALSO: COVID-19 Pandemic: NCDC Issues Important Advisory On Use Of Cloth Face Masks

“It depends on the quality,” says California-based infectious-disease physician, Dr. Ramzi Asfour, who recommended high-quality cotton sheets for face mask, instead of cheap T-shirt material that’s not very finely woven.

Over the past few months, scientists have been evaluating the most effective mask materials for trapping the coronavirus.

They recommend two medical-grade masks, N99 and N95, saying they are the most effective at filtering viral particles.

“The protectiveness of a mask – including N95 and surgical masks – declines considerably when there is a gap between the mask and the skin,” experts warn.

“It’s about the seal of the mask,” Dr. Asfour said. “You have to make sure there’s no air leak.”

Even so, research has suggested that wearing masks improperly or sporadically could still reduce transmission. Researchers say while wrapping a scarf or cotton T-shirt around the nose and mouth isn’t particularly effective at filtering the coronavirus, it’s still better than wearing nothing.

Disposable surgical mask

The NCDC notes that: “There are many ways to wear a mask incorrectly, but only one way to maximise protection: wear a well-fitted mask with gaps.”

It adds, “Check if your mask fits before going outside, it is really simple.”

READ ALSO: New Study: Multiple Quilted Face Mask Most Effective To Prevent COVID-19 Spread

It advises a mask wearer to inhale, noting that if properly worn, the mask should pull  towards the wearer’s face.

It then asks the mask wearer to exhale, saying, “Your mask should expand.”

It counsels wearer to check for leaks, noting, “There should be no major leaks;” and if there are, “Readjust your mask if there are leaks for best protection, your mask should fit well.’’

The NCDC warned that Nigeria is still in the middle of the pandemic and that people need to remain extremely careful to keep the gains of the sacrifices they had made since March.

“Even if you wear protective mask in public, it is important that you also use other preventive measures, stay at least two metres away from other people.

“Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

“Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands; cover your coughs and sneezes.’’

It, however, said that coronavirus could not overwhelm Nigerians. “There’s an end; let’s just do the needful,’’ it counselled.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that since the emergence of COVID-19 in the country, the statistics from NCDC reveals a gradual decline in daily recorded cases from July 27.

SEE ALSO: CDC Offers Friendly Dos And Don’ts Of Wearing Of Cloth Face Masks

The figures have reduced significantly over the past seven days with the lowest figure over this timeline being 288 recorded on August 3.

Between June and July, new cases had risen to as high as 790 on July 1.

With the recent trend, the case rate is slowing down in the country.

Sources: (NAN/Science Alert/WHO)

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