Do masks protect against COVID if others do not wear them?

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Experts say wearing masks in public places when others cannot protect against COVID-19 because some states are repealing the mandate for masks against coronavirus.

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Some states have abolition of mandates for face masks from COVID-19 or are discussing this as cases of COVID-19 in the US are declining.

However, the coronavirus continues to spread even if the daily average is positive Cases of coronavirus covid-19 infection According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on February 9 decreased by 42.8% compared to the week before.

If you’re wondering if a mask can protect you from COVID-19 in public if it’s not worn by others, here’s what experts say about the one-sided mask concept:

“Wearing a mask when others are not provides a certain level of personal protection,” Dr. Leonard J. told McClatchy News. Marcus, founding director of the Health Chances Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Program at Harvard School of Public Health TH Chan. in the statement.

However, “this protection is less than when everyone wears masks,” Marcus said.

Wear a face mask According to a CDC study released Feb. 11, it was associated with a lower likelihood of contaminating a respirator or respirator in public. The chances of getting a positive test were found to be the lowest among those “who reported wearing a N95 / KN95 respirator, followed by wearing a surgical mask” indoors.

Dr Liana Wen, a professor of public health at George Washington University, describes the abolition of some masked mandates as “a transition from a government-mandated mandate to an individual decision”.

“Just because masks are no longer needed doesn’t mean everyone should be without a mask,” Wen said in a statement from McClatchy News. “It also doesn’t mean all of a sudden it’s safe.”

Wen advises those who are not vaccinated or have a higher risk of severe COVID-19 to continue to disguise themselves. One-sided camouflage with “high quality” masks such as N95, KN95 and KF94 is “very effective,” Wen added.

“Even if others around you don’t wear masks, (you’re) wearing one of these masks will be very good at protecting you.”

When it comes to one-sided camouflage with a cloth or surgical mask, it doesn’t “greatly enhance your protection” compared to N95 masks, which “provide good protection,” said Dr. Amber D’Souza, a professor of epidemiology at McClatchy News. by calling Bloomberg John Hopkins School of Public Health.

“The data show that there are definitely cases where people have been infected. So we know there’s a risk if you’re not wearing an N95 mask. “

Ultimately, “The best protection is that you’re aware of your vaccinations,” Dr. George K. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, told McClatchy News. Benjamin described the “latter” as meeting the CDC’s vaccine recommendations, including the recommended vaccinations.

He added that the mask is an “additional level of protection” and that he wears it in “appropriate conditions” when next to other people with unknown vaccination statuses.

When it comes to deciding on camouflage in a public place where it is no longer required, it “depends on your personal circumstances and preferences” such as the state of your health, according to Marcus.

“Immunocompromised people, high-risk groups – such as the elderly – or those in areas of higher transmission are encouraged to continue wearing the mask while COVID is still spreading in society.”

He advises the public to assess their own health and “risk tolerance” and to monitor the local spread of COVID-19 when going out in public, when it comes to masks.

The future of COVID-19 and camouflage

“I believe we will become a society in masks,” Benjamin told McClatchy News, adding that “seeing someone wearing a mask in other parts of the world is a normal behavior,” for example, in some parts of Asia.

Benjamin went on to say that it doesn’t mean people will wear masks all the time, for example, on the street, but that it “makes sense” to do it inside when next to people you don’t know in public.

D’Souza told McClatchy News that “in many conditions in the coming weeks the risk will be low enough for people to consider staying inside without a mask.”

“If the number of COVID-19 cases continues to decline, the risk of transmission will be low enough in many places that people may actually consider it this spring.”

The professor said she views next month or so as a “transitional” phase.

“I still wear our mask when I go inside, even when the mandates are revoked, because the rates, although they are decreasing, are still not low.”

She added that is why the CDC has not yet changed its recommendations for wearing a mask.

However, she acknowledged that COVID-19 is changing consistently, and the advice given by health experts, “one week can really be different in a few weeks if the figures are different”.

She also said that experts expect the virus to continue to mutate with the possibility of additional strains, but “this always happens with infectious diseases.”

However, according to D’Souza, there are many reasons for optimism.

For those who are “more cautious,” the professor said, “the vision of removing some of these mask mandates can be alarming to people, and so they can always continue to wear the N95 mask to protect themselves when entering public places where other people can there is no camouflage. “

D’Souza said she believes that “in schools and elsewhere we can really think in the coming weeks and months of lifting some of these restrictions” depending on the local number of COVID-19 cases.

“But there is great hope that we will be able to do it safely in the coming weeks.”

Julia Marnin is a McClatchy National Real-Time reporter covering the South and Northeast in New York City. She is a graduate of New Jersey College and joined McClach in 2021. She has previously written for Newsweek, Modern Luxury, Gannett and others.

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