- Now that the winter weather has also arrived, people are retreating indoorsan.
- My doctors and scientists are urging Canadians to not only resist becoming complacent about wearing masks to protect against COVID-19.
Also to examine whether that cloth mask is keeping you and others as safe as possible. “While non-medical masks can help stop the spread of COVID-19, medical masks also respirators provide better protection,” the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) stated on its COVID-19 mask information webpage, which was updated on November 12.
Medical masks or respirators are also recommended for people “at risk of more severe disease or outcomes from COVID-19” and those “at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to their living situation,” according to the updated guidance.
Respirators, such as N-95 and KN-95 masks, are the highest level of mask protection and were previously recommended only for healthcare workers who had direct contact with infectious patients. In addition, respirators must pass a “fit test” in high-risk areas.
However, PHAC’s guidance now states that “a respirator worn in the community does not need to have been formally fit tested, as is required in some occupational settings.”
In an email response to a CBC News inquiry about why the PHAC’s recommendations had changed, the agency stated that it was “based on the most recent scientific evidence on SARS-CoV-2 virus variants of concern, increased understanding of the effects of vaccination and immunity in the population, and new data available on mask types and their effectiveness.”
Many doctors, scientists, and engineers believe that this shift in messaging reflects a growing body of evidence that COVID-19 is primarily spread through aerosols (tiny particles that can hang in the air) rather than respiratory droplets (larger particles) transmitted through close contact with an infected person.
As a result, they argue, it’s critical to rethink the masks we’re wearing.
“This marks a shift in Canada toward recognizing the importance of aerosol, airborne-based transmission in the transmission of this virus,” said Dr. Brooks Fallis, a critical care physician at Toronto’s William Osler Health System.
Because aerosol particles are smaller and can accumulate in the air over time, the best-performing masks are essential if you’re going to be indoors with other people for an extended period, according to Fallis.
Source: CBC News