Comparison of High Efficiency N95 respiratory face mask with ordinary surgical face mask:
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Surgical masks are employed for different purposes:
· to prevent the spread of contaminated respiratory secretions to others by coughing or breathing “aerosol” particles which may be infected with the virus
· use by health care personnel to avoid contamination with patients' saliva and wounds
· use by health care personnel to avoid contamination of wounds
· keeping hands and fingers away from the mouth and nose
The resistance of surgical masks to fluids and pollutant particles depends on several different variables in the qualitative characteristics of the surgical mask media:
· thickness; type and fluid resistance of masks; · their fitting with the face; microscopic characteristics of surgical mask media.
Virus penetration through surgical masks suggests that surgical masks are weak mechanical filters and those particles with the diameter of 300 nanometer have the most penetration through these masks
A virus is an infectious agent of small size and simple composition that can multiply only in living cells of animals, plants, or bacteria. They range in size from about 20 to 400 nanometres in diameter (1 nanometre = 10-9 meters). By contrast, the smallest bacteria are about 400 nanometres in size. Coronavirus virions (or ‘particles’ #covid-19) are spherical particles with diameters of approximately 125 nm (0.125 microns). The smallest particles are 0.06 microns, and the largest are 0.14 microns. Surgical masks can filter out particles of as small as 0.007 microns.
Comparison of the sizes of Corona Viris (#coronaoutbreak), and bacteria:
According to a report by the BBC in January, 2020, Dr Jake Dunning, head of emerging infections and zoonoses at Public Health England, said: "Although there is a perception that the wearing of facemasks may be beneficial, there is in fact very little evidence of widespread benefit from their use outside of these clinical setting." He said masks had to be worn correctly, changed frequently and got rid of safely if they were to work properly. "Research also shows that compliance with these recommended behaviours reduces over time when wearing facemasks for prolonged periods," he added. People would be better to focus on good personal and hand hygiene if they are concerned, Dr Dunning said, namely (for protection against any airborne viral of bacterial infection):
regularly wash your hands with warm water and soap
avoid touching your eyes and nose wherever possible
maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle (to boost immune system #DrMargo)
In summary, surgical facemasks are not adequate protection against Covid-19 (#Coronaoutbreak) as they are not airtight, do not stop the transmission of virus particles and, do not cover the eyes. The virus enters via "mucosal" surfaces - nose, mouth and eyes. If worn for more than an hour or so, the moist air of respiration weakens the integrity of the mask and renders it's effectiveness as null. These are designed to prevent bacterial infection, not viral and, only in a clinical setting.