Why is Europe restricting cloth masks | Digital Trends Spanish


The rapid spread that COVID-19 has experienced in early 2021 has led European governments to extreme their preventive measures. And fabric masks have become the first to be affected.

Germany, France and Austria were the first countries to ban its use in public spaces, making professional masks virtually mandatory, whether surgical or so-called FFP2.

The restrictions seek to favor the use of devices that have the ability to filter at least 90 percent of the particles.

A report by the French health authorities assured that the cloth masks only have a filtering capacity of 70 percent and are not totally airtight, since they do not adapt to the physiognomy of the face.

What are the different types of masks

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  • Surgical masks: They are used by healthcare professionals to protect the patient from possible infectious agents, and in some patients, to reduce the risk of spreading infections. They are 95 to 98 percent effective.
  • FFP masks: They are used to protect the user of the mask against the inhalation of environmental pollutants, such as pathogens or chemicals. Its efficacy varies between 78 percent (FFP1), 92 percent (FFP2) and 98 percent (FFP3).
  • Cloth masks: Intended for people without symptoms who are not susceptible to using surgical or filtering masks. There are no data to establish its efficacy in preventing transmission.

What do health agencies recommend

As of January 22, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) maintain their recommendations regarding this type of elements.

  • whoAlthough he recommends the professionals, he says that the “hygienic cloth masks they can be used by the general population under 60 years of age who do not have underlying health conditions ”.
  • CDC: recommends avoiding the widespread use of surgical or professional masks, so that they are reserved for medical personnel. Only recommend use non-medical disposable face masks or reusable cloth face masks when they fit the face properly.
  • ECDC: although it states that there is no data that support their use, consider that the use of hygienic masks can serve as an element of protection. However, he warns that this is only due to the shortage of professional masks and as a complementary measure to other prevention actions, such as social distancing.

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