Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – If you’re still wearing a surgical cloth or mask when you’re out and about, it’s time to rethink your face covering.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is set to update its mask advice this week to better reflect the options available and the different levels of protection they offer, a CDC official told CNN Tuesday.
Many experts say that cloth and surgical masks do not provide sufficient protection, instead encouraging N95 or FFP2 coverings.
Already upgraded masks have become the norm in much of Europe. Germany mandates FFP2 caps in stores, on public transport and in other public places. Neighboring Austria made FFP2 masks mandatory outdoors on Tuesday, when it is not possible to keep at least two meters of people outside, and they have been required indoors since last month.
Italy has required heavy masks to enter stadiums, museums, cinemas and theaters, and to use public transport from December. And in Greece, anyone who has left seclusion must wear it in any public place for five days.
The different terms for masks can be confusing, but all refer to the level of filtration that coverage provides – and there’s no doubt that FFP2, N95 or KN95 models offer better protection than those made of canvas or other fabrics.
Cloth masks — encouraged earlier in the pandemic — can stop large droplets, while more effective masks can also filter out smaller aerosols or potentially airborne virus-laden particles.
Properly fitted N95 respirators approved by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health can filter up to 95% of particles in the air, according to the CDC.
In contrast, a fabric face covering also has 75% internal and external seepage, which the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists defines as “the percentage of particles entering the face piece” and “the percentage of particles being ejected from a source coming out of the face covering,” straight.
People concerned about how best to protect themselves and loved ones during this surge in cases of the Omicron variant should “get a high-quality mask that you can afford and that’s available to you,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, CNN’s Anderson Cooper. On Tuesday, signaling a shift in official advice.
The problem so far is that filter masks are generally more expensive, less convenient to wear, and earlier in the pandemic they were not widely available.
This explains why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has so far actively encouraged members of the public not to purchase N95 masks — which currently state on their website that they should be “priority for health care personnel.”
But Fauci told CNN: “At the moment, [there] There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of masks that haven’t been available some time ago.”
“What the CDC has said — and is misinterpreted — they say, that wearing any mask is better than no mask at all,” Fauci said. “But there is a gradient in being able to prevent you from getting infected and to pass it on to someone else. So we have to wear the best masks we can get. That’s a fact.”
CNN’s Nina Avramova contributed to this report
You asked. We answered.
Q: When is it safe to leave isolation if I have Covid-19?
a: Guidelines for isolation times are constantly changing around the world – and they can be confusing and contradictory at times.
If the test result is positive, the first step is to check the guidance at your place. In the US, people can leave isolation after five days if their symptoms are gone – no negative test is required – and they must then wear a mask around people for another five days.
In other countries, it can be up to 14 days. But more areas are allowing early exit from isolation if patients are asymptomatic, leaving it up to you to decide whether you should do so.
The likelihood that you will remain contagious decreases over time. The longer you are isolated, the less likely it is that someone else will be exposed to the virus. Ten days after a positive test result, an estimated 5% of people are still contagious, according to researchers at the UK’s Health Security Agency.
However, by the fifth day, the end of the CDC isolation period, a significant proportion of people (31%) are still contagious. By day seven, the proportion of people who are still contagious is cut in half – to about 16%.
If you have access to a rapid antigen test, it may be helpful to take one or two during isolation. Combining a negative result with a self-assessment of your symptoms should help you reach a conclusion about whether you should leave isolation at the earliest permitted stage in your country.
Submit your questions here. Are you a healthcare worker battling Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about your challenges: +1 347-322-0415.
Readings of the week
COVID cases in children are on the rise. The schools are not ready
With Covid-19 cases rising across Britain in late December, Stuart Guest spent his vacation researching scientific reports on air purification and filtration systems.
Just Guest, a primary school principal in Birmingham, England, has been searching for affordable air purifiers at Amazon in hopes of preventing the more portable variant of Omicron from spreading among its 460 students, ages 3 to 11.
“I got what I think is the best budget air purifier I have available. I hope I have something that does the job, but I’m no expert. There are no MOE guidelines. I had to do it all myself, and I shouldn’t do it when you are A national crisis,” Geist said.
Millions of British students are back in school after the Christmas and New Year holidays, amid a record spike in infections and hospitalizations. For teachers and parents, the situation brought a bleak déjà vu feel, writes Elisa McIntosh.
And in the United States, more children are hospitalized than ever before. The Biden administration said schools are “more than equipped” to stay open, with Omicron spreading across the country.
But some elected officials are getting it wrong by delaying the new semester, while the teachers’ union has forced public schools in Chicago, Illinois, to close for a week amid criticism from members that conditions in classrooms are dangerous.
Beijing on high alert as China’s first Omicron group approaches ahead of Olympics
Officials in Beijing are on high alert just weeks after the Winter Olympics began, after the first localized spread of the Omicron variant in China spread from the northern port city of Tianjin to the central province of Henan.
Tianjin, just 80 miles southeast of Beijing, reported at least 40 positive cases over the weekend, including 24 children, although health authorities have not yet confirmed whether they had Omicron.
But the virus has already spread outside the city. On Monday, state media reported that two more Omicron cases had been identified in Anyang City, Henan Province, more than 300 miles from Tianjin, Nectar Gan and Steve George report.
In recent months, Chinese authorities have imposed ever stricter restrictions to curb the outbreak of the domestic Covid virus as Beijing prepares for the Olympics. An outbreak of Omicron disease on the doorstep of the capital just weeks before the games kick off on February 4 presents something of a nightmare scenario for officials – who are now likely to step up efforts to protect Beijing.
No, you shouldn’t hold an omicron on purpose in order to ‘override’ the command
The question hung in the air like a stench, silencing a small group of fully hunkered down and bolstered friends and family at the dinner table.
“Why don’t you just get Omicron and get rid of it? It’s mild, isn’t it? And it can boost immunity?” He was a well-vaccinated, well-educated friend who asked an honest question and echoed the opinions heard on many social platforms.
Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said with a sigh that the idea of intentionally trying to catch Omicron was “outrageous.”
Dr. Robert Murphy, MD, executive director of the Haffee Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, agrees, “It caught like wildfire.”
“It’s pervasive, coming from all kinds of people, vaccinators, boosters, anti-vaccators,” he cautioned. “You’d be crazy if you tried to get hit with this. It’s like playing with dynamite.”
The FDA warns against adding self-collected throat swabs to nasal Covid-19 tests and says people should use the tests as instructed.
“Fact: When it comes to rapid #COVID19 antigen tests at home, those swabs are for your nose, not your throat,” she said on Twitter.
Why this warning? After anecdotal reports of sore throats with coronavirus infection and early studies suggesting that saliva might be a better way to detect the Omicron variant, some people have begun taking antigen test swabs intended for nasal samples and using them to clear their throat.
The home test modification began after people started posting their results on social media using the hashtag #SwabYourThroat.
The FDA warned last week that throat swabs are “more complicated than nasal swabs — and if used incorrectly, they can cause patient harm. The CDC recommends that throat swabs be collected by a trained health care provider.”
Throat swabs are common in some places, such as the UK, but in the US, most self-exams require nasal samples; A few of these include saliva collected by spitting into the tube.
You can read more here.
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc. , a WarnerMedia company. All rights reserved.