In March 2021, I wrote an article for this weblog about how and why it is best to put on a masks to guard your self and others in opposition to COVID-19. On the time, case numbers had been dropping and plenty of us began returning to extra regular ranges of social interplay.
Then alongside got here the Delta and Omicron variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, that are a lot extra contagious than earlier variations that it triggered a fast surge in infections and hospitalizations and overwhelmed many hospitals once more.
It’s time for me to revisit this matter…as a result of the security protocols have advanced, identical to the coronavirus itself.
Being totally vaccinated and boosted is extraordinarily efficient at defending most individuals from critical sickness and hospitalization from COVID-19. In accordance with the CDC, totally vaccinated Individuals are 14 occasions much less prone to die of COVID-19 than those that are unvaccinated, and people who’ve obtained a booster shot are 97 occasions much less prone to die.
Together with the vaccine, masks stay an necessary software in combating COVID-19. So, sure, we nonetheless ought to put on masks. The CDC says that everybody above the age of two ought to put on a masks in all indoor public locations or crowded out of doors areas.
Growing the High quality of Our Safety
In my final put up about this, I talked extensively about material masks — as a result of on the time they had been comparatively straightforward to come back by and fairly profitable in stopping unfold. However now it’s changing into clear that material masks might not be practically as efficient in opposition to the Omicron variant.
The CDC urges us to persistently put on probably the most protecting and well-fitting face masks doable. Listed here are the masks the CDC at the moment recommends, from most to least protecting:
- NIOSH-approved respirators, together with N95s
- Disposable surgical masks and KN95s
- Layered, finely-woven masks
- Loosely woven material masks
Keep in mind, any safety is best than none, however extra safety is best than some. And it doesn’t matter what sort of masks you’re carrying, a decent match is totally key.
Getting a Tight Match
If air can escape or enter across the edges of your masks, the place it touches your face, then the masks won’t give you superb safety. It should match snugly over your nostril, mouth, and chin. It’s essential be respiration by means of the masks, not round it.
All masks ought to have a steel strip to assist them kind a decent match throughout the bridge of your nostril. Should you’ve adjusted that strip rigorously and air continues to be escaping, this video from the CDC reveals you methods to make a disposable masks extra hermetic.
Should you put on glasses, they usually fog up while you’re carrying a masks, meaning there isn’t a decent sufficient seal. Some individuals discover that twisting every ear loop as soon as between the masks and your ears (forming a determine eight) helps get rid of area by means of which air can escape.
Carrying a second masks on prime of the primary also can assist, says the CDC. The second masks pushes down on the primary one, creating a greater match. It additionally provides extra layers of safety to cut back the quantity of respiratory droplets that may get by means of.
What Else You Can Do to Keep Secure
- Get vaccinated even when you’ve got had COVID-19. Get a booster in case you haven’t had one but.
- Wash your palms usually, with heat water and cleaning soap, for at the least 20 seconds every time. If heat water and cleaning soap aren’t obtainable, use hand sanitizer incessantly.
- Don’t contact your face after being out in public till you’ve completely washed your palms.
- Keep at the least six toes away from anybody who doesn’t stay in your house.
Will Life Ever Return to Regular?
Consider me, I need to cease fearing for my security and the security of my household simply as a lot as anybody. I’d like to imagine that 2022 is the yr the pandemic will finish, and that COVID-19 will go from being a devastating public well being disaster to one thing a lot much less harmful, just like the widespread chilly or the flu. However, we have to acknowledge that new variants of the virus are anticipated to proceed to emerge they usually may very well be roughly harmful, relying on quite a lot of components.
We could also be sick of carrying masks and taking so many different public well being precautions. But when we actually need to keep secure and for this pandemic to finish, we have to maintain doing what works, so let’s maintain these masks on.