Coronavirus The German ban on fabric masks makes sense, says a Finnish expert – Such masks protect their users much better than fabrics

The Finnish expert considers the German fabric mask ban to be an effective measure in combating the threat of virus transformation. In Germany, the mask must be at least a surgical face mask.

There are in Germany now reacted strongly the threat of a British variant of the coronavirus. The virus variant is more susceptible to human-to-human transmission of the previous type of coronavirus.

One clear change is the change from fabric masks to more effective mask types.

The mask compulsion has been in use in Germany since the end of April, but any mask could have been in use. Now the mask should be according to the FFP2 or FFP3 standard or at least a so-called surgical face mask.

The FFP mask covers the nose and mouth like a muzzle.

With FFP standardized the mask refers to a half-face mask, the main difference of which to the so-called patch mask is that the side leakage is very much smaller. The mask thus covers the nose and mouth like a muzzle.

“In practice, that means that with a surgical patch mask, up to half of the air we breathe goes past the material being filtered,” says the research professor. Ali Harlin Technology Research Center (Vtt).

Thus, the filtering ability is weaker and the mask does not protect its user as much as it could.

“The surgical mask was originally developed for hospital use so that bacteria would not get into the wound of the patient being operated on,” Harlin recalls.

The mask must be valve-free in order to effectively protect outsiders as well. According to the National Institute of Occupational Health FFP shields with exhalation valve are not recommended for situations where you need to protect others from respiratory secretions.

“Using an FFP mask alone provides the same protection as if both had a surgical mask on the face”

A patch mask however, protection for its user is not negligible, as the risk of infection falls to about 50 percent for a surgical mask user.

“Using an FFP mask alone provides the same protection as if both had a surgical mask on their face,” Harlin compares.

Thus, FFP2 and FFP3 standardized masks genuinely protect their wearer from viral aerosols almost three times better than a surgical patch mask. The FFP2 mask provides 95% protection against viral droplets and the FFP3 mask 98%.

“This will certainly be useful in combating a twice as fiercely contagious viral variant, as an effective mask will virtually zero out the increased infectivity,” Harlin estimates.

The fabric mask provides the worst protection: its effect is at most reasonable.

Fabric mask for protection worst for its user, with a filtration efficiency in the range of 40-50%.

“The protection effect is at most reasonable for its user,” says Harlin.

Of course, any protection in front of the nose and mouth stops sneezing and protects other people from possible viral drops and, according to Harlin, works better than sneezing on the sleeve.

However, fabric masks provide protection to the wearer for a very short time, even if the material used is a microfiber fabric that is not as susceptible to viruses as ordinary cotton.

Correction 21.1. at 11.42: Changed the picture of the story to a valveless mask. The masks in the previous image had a valve, but such a mask does not protect outsiders as effectively. TTL recommendation added to the text at 12.00.

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