In the last week the government has altered their stance on whether the public should be wearing protective masks. Previously, we were told that we should avoid the use of face masks, partly because there was little evidence of them working and partly because it gave people a false sense of security, meaning that they were more likely to put themselves into a situation where they would be exposed to the virus, as they had the added protection of the masks. This point was highlighted in a BBC article from April ‘Masks are not generally recommended for the public because they can be contaminated by other people’s coughs and sneezes, or when putting them on and potentially remove the frequent hand-washing and social distancing, which are more effective. They might also offer a false sense of security’ and this was again reiterated by a journal of the American Medical Association study published this month, which still contended that people without symptoms should not wear surgical masks, because there is no proof that they will protect them from infection. Coupled with this we were met with a shortage of medical face masks at the beginning of this pandemic, with the advice being that these needed to be prioritised for those working on the frontline, namely NHS workers. An article by the BBC also reiterated this stance.
However, this stance has been heavily contested by many who have used Asia as an example. Finding correlations between countries that have a tradition of wearing face masks before the pandemic and continued during the virus outbreak and the way that the virus has been controlled in these areas, as shown in the graph below.
Again scientists have highlighted that this is not a reliable argument as the case with China proves.
That being said the Government’s stance has altered with the slight easing of the lockdown. It is now being advised that all frontline workers and those returning back to work should consider wearing masks. People should aim to wear face coverings on public transport and in some shops, also in other “enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and if they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet”. New evidence suggests that face coverings can help in reducing the spread of droplets and therefore potentially infecting others and could help to reduce the spread of infection as lockdown measures start to be lifted. It is important people refrain from touching their face covering when wearing it, where possible, to avoid hand to mask transmission of the virus.
Problems now arise as where to get masks from? Many people have been making their own clothed masks, some even going to extraordinary measures by repurposing nappies and hoover bags to act as filtration devices. Another cause for concern are companies selling ‘knock off’ products, without any level of protection. Make sure that as a consumer you ask for certification of the products and do some research on what products you should be buying. We have recently started selling PPE through our website and delivery service, with one of our key requirements from our suppliers being that the products are certificated, fit for purpose and authenticated. This gives not only us, but also the consumer peace of mind. The masks that people need to be looking out for are N95, KN95 and surgical masks. Make sure that they are FFP, filtration facepiece, a certification by the European Union. With gloves you need to make sure that they are suitable for the work they will be used for. For example many gloves degrade when in contact with fats, if you work in the food industry this would be a serious concern.
For anyone that is concerned with where and what type of PPE to purchase, Tryd Essentials can help. We will deliver anywhere in London either same-day or next-day, as well as providing a Nationwide delivery service within 2-3 working days.
Keep well and stay safe.