Face masks have become an emblem of the public response to COVID-19, with many governments mandating their use in public spaces. The logic is that face masks are low cost and might help prevent some transmission.
Early on, there were warnings of the opportunity cost for public use of medical masks given shortages of personal protective equipment for healthcare providers. This led to recommendations for cloth masks and other face coverings, with little evidence of their ability to prevent transmission. However, cloth masks are not preventing the spread of Covid19 coronavirus and are the worst solution.
We find evidence that masks enable disinhibition behaviour and that people spend less time at home and more time in moderate to high-risk locations following orders to wear masks.
Wearing of face masks leading to false self-confidence that you are protected against Covid19 Coronavirus, in many cases, people wearing the facemasks do not follow social distancing and visit high-risk locations – high-density places.
Like most respiratory viruses, SARS-CoV-2 the virus that causes COVID-19 is predominantly spread by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person speaks, coughs or sneezes, and/or by contact via hands with a surface contaminated by virus-containing respiratory droplets, before touching the eyes, nose or mouth. A face mask can be used by a person with a respiratory viral infection, including COVID-19
to protect others, especially, as it will decrease the spread of droplets. Face Masks or, in selected circumstances, respirators and eye protection1 are used by healthcare workers and some other occupational groups to protect themselves, when it is impracticable or inappropriate to maintain physical distancing from a person with a respiratory infection, including COVID-19.
Transmission of most of respiratory viruses
Bioaerosols contain suspended particles, produced from the respiratory tract during breathing, talking, coughing and sneezing. People with respiratory viral infections produce particles of variable sizes from <0.1 to >100 micron and proportions, containing varying amounts of viral RNA and viable virus, depending on the type and stage of infection. Particle sizes form a continuum and there is no universally agreed cut-off between large and small particles. However, there are important differences based on size.
Larger, wet particles – droplets generally defined as larger than 5 to 10 microns travel relatively short distances from the source person usually ~1-2 metre before settling on surfaces, fomites or a person in close proximity. Viruses contained in large droplets tend to infect the upper respiratory tract, directly via droplets settling on mucosal surfaces or directly by the person’s hands, after touching a fomite or surface contaminated with respiratory droplets, and then touching their eye, nose or mouth.
Droplet contamination of surfaces and fomites is a major source of respiratory virus transmission – hence the importance of hand and environmental hygiene in IPC.
Smaller < 5 to 10 micron particles remain suspended in the air for relatively long periods and can be dispersed over long distances, depending on environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, air currents and ventilation. Because of their size, small particles can be inhaled directly into the lungs. The risk diminishes as the distance from the source increases and particles are diluted by dispersion. Only a minority of small particles from a person with a viral infection carry the live virus, which is rapidly inactivated by desiccation. Small particles can aggregate into large droplets and settle onto nearby surfaces. Respiratory viral infections are most likely to be transmitted in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, via large and/or small particles, among close contacts. Viral RNA – and sometimes culturable virus – can often be detected on surfaces and in airborne particles in the vicinity of people with viral infections, such as influenza, SARS, MERS and COVID-19. Transmission is much less likely to occur outside, because of the limited range of large droplets and dilution of small particles by dispersion on air currents with rapid loss of viability of any virus carried by them, due to desiccation. Current evidence suggests that most respiratory viral infections are principally spread by droplets, directly or indirectly, between individuals in close proximity to each other. Modelling studies indicate that the risk of infection from small particles is many times less than from droplets or self-inoculation by contaminated hands. However, there is an increased risk of hospital-acquired respiratory viral infection, in the context of aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs). Controversy remains about contributing factors and frequency of airborne transmission, which varies in different types of viral infection, patients and AGPs. Factors contributing to an increased risk of transmission include the viral load in the respiratory tract of the infected patient and amount of infectious virus, if any, in the aerosol produced, which depends on the stage of infection and whether the upper and/or lower respiratory tract is involved. The viral inoculum required to cause infection in another person depends on factors such as the relative abundance of specific viral receptors in the human respiratory tract and the susceptibility of the exposed individual.
Face masks false confidence of protection against Covid-19 Perth Australia
Let’s start with Face masks and how efficient are they to prevent the spreading of COVID19 Coronavirus.
Homemade cotton cloth face masks
The worst possible solution. Laboratory tests have shown that the penetration of cloth masks by particles was almost 97% and surgical masks 44%, 3M 9320 N95 (<0.01%), 3M Vflex 9105 N95 (0.1%). Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in an increased risk of infection. Further research is needed to inform the widespread use of cloth masks globally. We have provided the first clinical efficacy data of cloth masks, which suggest people should not use cloth masks as protection against respiratory infection. Cloth masks resulted in significantly higher rates of infection than medical masks, and also performed worse than the control arm.
When we analysed all mask-wearers including controls, the higher risk of cloth masks was seen for laboratory-confirmed respiratory viral infection.
Self-contamination through repeated and improper use. For example, a contaminated cloth mask may transfer pathogens from the mask to the bare hands of the wearer. We also showed that filtration was extremely poor 0% for the cloth masks. Observations during SARS suggested double-masking and other practices increased the risk of infection because of moisture, liquid diffusion and pathogen retention.
Cloth masks are optimal incubators for germs, bacteria and viruses. Moisture, no filtering causing the cloth (cotton mask, homemade mask, fabric) masks an optimal environment to multiply the Virus. For a Virus, moisture is a magnet to stick on it from the environment.
Example if you are in an environment with a virus wearing a cloth face mask it takes only a few droplets or bioaerosol and in a few hours you are infected.
Warning!!! Wearing a Cloth mask you are exposing yourself to Coronavirus more than not wearing any mask. The risk of contamination is extremely higher than not wearing any face mask!!!
Do surgical masks protect you against Coronavirus Covid19
Yes, The Surgical face masks can provide you with some kind of protection. Based on the research they can reduce transmission of coronavirus Covid19 by approximately 17%. They need to be exchanged every 3 hours.
Health care workers routinely use surgical masks as part of their personal protective equipment. However, surgical masks are not respirators and are not certified as such. They do not protect the wearer from inhaling small particles that can remain airborne for long periods of time. Surgical masks are effective barriers for retaining large droplets which can be released from the wearer through talking, coughing, or sneezing. Surgical masks are useful in many patient care areas. In fact, they may reduce wound site contamination during surgical or dental procedures. But surgical masks cannot be used as protection from many hazardous airborne materials. The filter material of surgical masks does not retain or filter out submicron particles. In addition, surgical masks are not designed to eliminate air leakage around the edges.
Respirators used in health care are most effective
settings should be selected according to the efficiency of respirator filters in filtering aerosols and according to the type of procedure to be carried out.
As stated in the Biosafety Handbook, “Where applicable, respiratory protection should conform to standard CSA Z94.4, Selection, Use and Care of Respirators” and “Using the wrong respirator or misusing one can be as dangerous as not wearing one at all.” No single respirator (or any type of personal protective equipment (PPE)) can be expected to provide protection against all types of hazards. Be sure you are wearing the correct PPE for the task.
One of the most common respirators used in health care facilities is the type of N95 disposable respirator. These used to be called dust/fume/mist (DFM) masks that were certified under a previous standard. N95 filters belong to a group of air-purifying particulate filters.
The “N95” is one of three types of filters – N, R and P. These refer to the type of resistance they have to the degrading of their filtering efficiency when exposed to different kinds of airborne particulates, mists, etc. To help people remember which filters can be used for protection against different kinds of airborne particulates (e.g., dust, fume and mist). NIOSH provides the following guide:
The “95” in N95 refers to the filter efficiency. There are three levels of filter efficiencies – 95% (N95), 99% (N99), and 99.97% (N100 or HEPA filter) tested against aerosol (fine mist) droplets 0.3 microns in diameter. N95 type respirators are the respirators recommended by the Government of Canada and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for use by health care workers in contact with patients with infections that are transmitted from inhaling airborne droplets (e.g., tuberculosis (TB); also recommended for health care staff working with patients having or suspected of having SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome).
High-risk procedures such as bronchoscopy and autopsy require additional protection. For example, protection may include full facepiece negative-pressure respirator, powered air-purifying respirators, and positive pressure airline respirators equipped with a half-mask or full facepiece.
A supplied-air respirator with a hood may be needed for staff who cannot be properly fitted with respirators with a facepiece. In medical procedures that generate aerosol mists, goggles or face shields with safety glasses or goggles should also be used to prevent eye contamination.
Currently, there is no standard duration for the time period that facemasks and respirators can safely be used. Theoretically, there may be a risk of infection in wearer if contaminated masks are used for a prolonged time.
Rules of Western Australia government to remove the face mask if you go eating or drinking at restaurants
Here is the biggest problem I see!!
The laboratory-based pilot study showed maximum fluorescent contamination on upper sections of the masks which is also the likely area to be touched on removal. Multiple manipulations of the surgical mask, touching mask – removing and putting back causing contamination of the inner parts of the mask by the virus and chance to get infected by coronavirus Covid-19 is extremely high. Prolonged use of Surgical masks for a period of 3 hours is not recommended as it increases the risk of mask contamination – infection!!
Main purpose to wear a face mask (surgical, respirators)
Aerosols of SARS–CoV-2 generated during a high-velocity cough or sneeze case study of mask safety
Virus particles may cross from the inner to the outer surface because of the physical pressure of swabbing, we swabbed the outer surface before the inner surface. The consistent finding of the virus on the outer mask surface is unlikely to have been caused by experimental error or artifact.
The mask’s aerodynamic features may explain this finding. A turbulent jet due to air leakage around the mask edge could contaminate the outer surface. Alternatively, the small aerosols of SARS–CoV-2 generated during a high-velocity cough might penetrate the masks. However, this hypothesis may only be valid if the coughing patients did not exhale any large-sized particles, which would be expected to be deposited on the inner surface despite high velocity.
These observations support the importance of hand hygiene after touching the outer surface of face masks. Both surgical and cotton masks seem to be ineffective in preventing the dissemination of SARS–CoV-2.
Masks may reduce the forward momentum of the virus-spit particles so that they are not launched as far forward as an unconstrained cough. Problem:
Wearing a Surgical Mask it takes one cough sneeze from someone wearing the mask and the bioaerosols and droplets will spread a short distance due to pressure and will stay in the air for 3 hours.
Infection – short distance SARS–CoV-2 spreads approximately 2-3 metres forward and 4 metres sideways – using surgical or cloth mask – high possibility to get infected at places:
Covid spreading observation from the UK increase of cases, cloth fashion mask trends
Based on the theory that the UK strain of Covid-19 Coronavirus should be a possible airborne virus should explain the high percentage of the UK population using cloth masks being infected.
If that is the point Surgical mask will not protect you against the New UK Strain, in case of cloth masks they become an optimal incubator for new strains and infection by the Covid-19. You will need to wear full PPE to stay protected, respirator, eyes and head protection.
The seasonal nature in the outbreaks of respiratory virus infections is a common phenomenon, with peaks often occurring in low temperatures, during the winter months.
The coronavirus can retain its infectivity for up to 2 weeks in low temperature and low humidity environments which might facilitate the virus transmission in a community located in a subtropical climate.
The mechanism underlying these patterns of climate determination that lead to infection and possible disease transmission is associated with the ability of the virus to survive external environmental conditions before staying in a host.
I have seen many violations of the Bio-security protocols and WHO Covid Safety recommendations since the beginning of the Covid19 pandemic in Perth. I tell it Simple that Perth has really big luck that we do not have here an outbreak as in the UK. Of course the Climate conditions in our hemisphere is helping a bit. The Luckiest City on this Planet.
Wear Surgical Face masks properly, follow the instructions! It is better to not wear a mask as wearing the mask incorrectly will increase the risk to get infected. Do not wear cotton or cloth masks!!
Better get certified N95 respirators or full PPE. Since we had lately just one case in Western Australia that is not as bad since virus density is not as high here as in the UK, but we need to still be cautious.
Remember! Social distancing is most important, avoid overcrowded places, avoid panic buying, avoid waiting in long queues, wash your hands, sanitise – disinfect surfaces, air systems (air conditioners), STAY HOME IF YOU ARE FEELING UNWELL AND GET TESTED, exercise and eat well, avoid staying inside buildings for longer than is necessary – high-density places, all I have named is the best to prevent spreading Covid-19 virus!!
Opinion and long term observance of Covid19 and new strains of community transmision
At the beginning of Covid-19 Pandemic, there was a shortage of Surgical face masks and respirators!
But the daily number of cases was relatively small in January – September comparing to the spikes around the world since October 2020.
The main problems I observed:
Wearing Face masks and gloves as a precaution against coronavirus is ineffective, unnecessary for the vast majority of people, and may even spread infections faster!
THIS STUDY / ARTICLE IS NOT TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO NOT WEAR A FACE MASK, FOLLOW THE GOVERNMENT COVID SAFE RULES AND MANDATORY WEARING OF FACE MASKS.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY GET AT LEAST SURGICAL MASKS AND AVOID CLOTH AND HOMEMADE MASK!!
Face masks false confidence of protection against Covid-19 Perth Australia