COVID-19 and Face Masks – To Use or Not to Use!

Published

2020-04-20

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.47203/IJCH.2020.v32i02SUPP.012

Keywords:

COVID-19, Face Masks

Dimensions Badge

Issue

Section

Perspective

Authors

Abstract

COVID-19 has evolved into a pandemic in quick time and being a droplet infection, it was quickly understood that prevention is the key. People started to use all types of masks and there was a panic as stocks started running out. Health care workers must use a triple layered surgical mask and those exposed to aerosol generating procedures must use an N 95 mask and these should be kept reserved for them, especially in a resource limited setting.  Though initial advice from experts to the general public was not to use a mask in community settings unless they are sick or taking care of someone sick, the advice had to be later modified. Though CDC Atlanta currently advices everyone with no symptoms to wear cloth masks in the community, WHO opines there is no clear evidence to advise for or against mask use in the community. However, WHO encourages countries advising community mask use as it can generate useful evidence.  Along with mask use, practicing all other preventive measures such as handwashing, cough etiquette, social distancing, quarantine and isolation are of utmost importance, without which, using surgical masks or even N95 masks, will not be much effective in the community setting.

How to Cite

1.
Ramakrishnan D. COVID-19 and Face Masks – To Use or Not to Use!. Indian J Community Health [Internet]. 2020 Apr. 20 [cited 2022 Oct. 6];32(2 (Supp):240-3. Available from: https://www.iapsmupuk.org/journal/index.php/IJCH/article/view/1457

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Zhou P, Yang X-L, Wang X-G, Hu B, Zhang L, Zhang W, et al. A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin. Nature. 2020;579(7798):270–3.

Zhu N, Zhang D, Wang W, Li X, Yang B, Song J, et al. A Novel Coronavirus from Patients with Pneumonia in China, 2019. N Engl J Med. 2020 Feb 20;382(8):727–33.

Zhang S, Diao M, Yu W, Pei L, Lin Z, Chen D. Estimation of the reproductive number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the probable outbreak size on the Diamond Princess cruise ship: A data-driven analysis. Int J Infect Dis. 2020 Apr 1;93:201–4.

Lauer SA, Grantz KH, Bi Q, Jones FK, Zheng Q, Meredith HR, et al. The Incubation Period of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) From Publicly Reported Confirmed Cases: Estimation and Application. Ann Intern Med [Internet]. 2020 Mar 10 [cited 2020 Apr 11]; Available from: https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2762808/incubation-period-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-from-publicly-reported

Coronavirus [Internet]. [cited 2020 Apr 11]. Available from: https://www.who.int/westernpacific/health-topics/coronavirus

When and how to use masks [Internet]. [cited 2020 Apr 9]. Available from: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks

CDC. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) [Internet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020 [cited 2020 Apr 9]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

Feng S, Shen C, Xia N, Song W, Fan M, Cowling BJ. Rational use of face masks in the COVID-19 pandemic. Lancet Respir Med [Internet]. 2020 Mar 20 [cited 2020 Apr 11];0(0). Available from: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(20)30134-X/abstract

Corona Virus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) Situation Report - 66 [Internet]. WHO; [cited 2020 Apr 12]. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200326-sitrep-66-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=9e5b8b48_2

Personal protective measures (non-pharmaceutical) for reducing the risk of acquiring or transmitting human influenza [Internet]. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. [cited 2020 Apr 11]. Available from: https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/seasonal-influenza/prevention-and-control/personal-protective-measures

Brosseau LM, ScD, Sietsema M, Apr 01 P|, 2020. COMMENTARY: Masks-for-all for COVID-19 not based on sound data [Internet]. CIDRAP. [cited 2020 Apr 9]. Available from: https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/04/commentary-masks-all-covid-19-not-based-sound-data

CDC. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Prevention & Treatment [Internet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020 [cited 2020 Apr 11]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19 [Internet]. WHO; [cited 2020 Apr 12]. Available from: https://www.who.int/publications-detail/advice-on-the-use-of-masks-in-the-community-during-home-care-and-in-healthcare-settings-in-the-context-of-the-novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov)-outbreak

How Surgical Masks are Made, Tested and Used [Internet]. [cited 2020 Apr 11]. Available from: https://www.thomasnet.com/articles/other/how-surgical-masks-are-made

Surgical Mask?: How To CORRECTLY Wear + Remove! [Internet]. Tech ARP. 2020 [cited 2020 Apr 9]. Available from: https://www.techarp.com/science/surgical-mask-wear-remove-guide/

Read “Reusability of Facemasks During an Influenza Pandemic: Facing the Flu” at NAP.edu [Internet]. [cited 2020 Apr 11]. Available from: https://www.nap.edu/read/11637/chapter/4

Davies A, Thompson K-A, Giri K, Kafatos G, Walker J, Bennett A. Testing the Efficacy of Homemade Masks: Would They Protect in an Influenza Pandemic? Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2013 May 22;7(4):413–8.

Health C for D and R. N95 Respirators and Surgical Masks (Face Masks). FDA [Internet]. 2020 Apr 5 [cited 2020 Apr 11]; Available from: https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/personal-protective-equipment-infection-control/n95-respirators-and-surgical-masks-face-masks

CDC - Recommended Guidance for Extended Use and Limited Reuse of N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators in Healthcare Settings - NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2020 Apr 9]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/hcwcontrols/recommendedguidanceextuse.html

Robertson P. Is Washing Masks Effective After Virus Exposure? [Internet]. Smart Air Filters. 2020 [cited 2020 Apr 12]. Available from: https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/washing-masks-effective-virus/

MacIntyre CR, Seale H, Dung TC, Hien NT, Nga PT, Chughtai AA, et al. A cluster randomised trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers. BMJ Open. 2015 Apr 1;5(4):e006577

. Robertson P. Is Washing Masks Effective After Virus Exposure? [Internet]. Smart Air Filters. 2020 [cited 2020 Apr 12]. Available from: https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/washing-masks-effective-virus/

Nicas M, Best D. A study quantifying the hand-to-face contact rate and its potential application to predicting respiratory tract infection. J Occup Environ Hyg. 2008 Jun;5(6):347–52.

Kwok YLA, Gralton J, McLaws M-L. Face touching: a frequent habit that has implications for hand hygiene. Am J Infect Control. 2015 Feb;43(2):112–4.

MacIntyre CR, Seale H, Dung TC, Hien NT, Nga PT, Chughtai AA, et al. A cluster randomised trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers. BMJ Open. 2015 Apr 1;5(4):e006577