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Wearing a mask is still one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of the Coronavirus and masks should continue to be worn in crowded indoor areas. "It is important for everyone to understand the very basic level of why they should wear a mask," says Megan Srinivas, MD, MPH, Infectious Diseases Specialist and Translational Health Policy Research Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "A lot of the reasons people aren't wearing it is because of the mixed messages we're getting from our state, local and national leaders. The most important thing that we can get across for our patients is clearing the misconception and those falsehoods by just telling them how masks are effective and safe."
It is being reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that any mask worn indoors provides significant protection from the COVID-19, but high-quality N95 and KN95 masks ensure the best protection. The CDC evaluated that surgical masks lower the chances of testing positive by 66 percent in indoor public settings. In contrast, tight-fitting masks like N95 and KN95 reduce the risk of infection by 83 percent. On the other hand, wearing a cloth mask minimizes the odds of testing positive by 56 percent, but the results were not statistically significant.
There is convincing evidence that wearing a mask or respirator consistently reduces the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection among people in the general population, as stated by the CDC in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
From the earliest days of the pandemic, wearing masks has been a center for debate as the healthcare professionals instructed the public not to buy masks as they should be conserved for medical experts at that time. After the government reversed the course on masking, it encouraged everyone to wear face coverings against airborne viruses.
Even today, arguments persist over whether to mandate masks, who has the authority to order them, and under what circumstances.
The CDC report reinforces the well-known value of mask-wearing by providing real-world data. Researchers at Virginia Tech who were not involved in the new study argue that masks aren't really effective. Linsey C. Marr, an expert on the airborne transmission of viruses, says that many people still believe that masks don't work.
In a separate email, Jose-Luis Jimenez, a Chemistry professor at the University of Colorado who did not take part in the study, explained that it enhances the evidence of what we are already aware of the virus is mainly airborne, and for the same reason, the world has indoor pandemic. As well as reducing transmission indoors, wearing masks has a tangible protective effect due to their superior fit and quality.
The study was conducted by the California Department of Public Health between February 18th and December 1st, 2021, before the Omicron variant hit the United States. It has been surveyed by the researchers that there were 652 people recently tested positive for the virus, whereas 1176 who had tested negative. They were all asked whether they were in stores, schools, churches, restaurants, or in other kinds of indoor public settings 14 days prior to the test. Moreover, they were asked if they had worn a mask and how often, and all those people were also matched by their vaccination status, including other various characters.
About 534 of the participants were enquired about what kind of masks they were wearing in the last three months of the survey.
Although steps were taken to lessen the effects, researchers acknowledged that relying on participants who were recalling their behavior in various public indoor settings could have reduced the reliability of the results. Furthermore, they did not consider other preventive measures participants may have taken, such as physical distance.
However, wearing a mask has been found to have substantial benefits. A combination of laboratory and real-world testing has confirmed masks are an effective barrier against Coronavirus. This shows that you can significantly lower your risk against Covid-19 if you wear a quality mask all the time, as per Marr.
COVID-19: Best Protected By N95 and KN95 Masks
According to the Central for Disease Control and Prevention, high-quality masks like N95 and KN95 act as a shield against the infection of COVID-19.
The CDC stated that data from real-world settings reinforce the importance of wearing masks or respirators regularly to reduce the risk of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 infection indoors among the general public. When N95 and KN95 masks have been worn indoors by people, it minimizes the chance of infections by 83%. On the other hand, surgical masks reduce the infection risk by 66%.
The agency said that even though KN95 and N95 masks provide the best protection, wearing any mask indoors is still better than not wearing one at all.
Hence, it is necessary to take all the precautions against COVID-19, and wearing the mask is one of the best preventive measures. We should take all the steps that lead us towards safety against the virus. And it is being proved through research that N95 and KN95 act as an effective way of protection against such infections. Wearing these masks ensures lower risks. It is essential for the person who hasn't been vaccinated should wear masks indoors as well as outdoor, where there is a higher risk of COVID-19 transmissions, like public gatherings, crowded events, and so on. These masks provide great protection because it filters out both large and small particles and help us inhale pure air. Thus, we should keep ourselves safe and secure against all infections and viruses while wearing an appropriate mask and following all kinds of guidelines.