Three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts continue the debate on the use of masks and their effectiveness, questioning their protection to avoid contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Recently, a study of Cochrane ?an international network dedicated to health research?, questioned the effectiveness of N95 and P2 masks to protect users from contracting the disease caused by the SARS-Cov2 virus. The study revealed that wearing a mask can make little or no difference in trying to avoid contracting COVID-19.
Despite this study, experts recommend continuing to use them, especially in the case of older adults and immunocompromised people, since they are the ones who suffer the highest risk of complications from the disease.
"My recommendation is that the mask should be worn by older people when they are at an indoor community event such as religious services, a basketball game or a convention and especially by people with serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or the lungs," said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University of Medicine.
At a press conference organized by Ethnic Media Services, Schaffner recommended that pregnant women and immunocompromised people should also continue to wear masks at public events held indoors.
And although he pointed out that the effectiveness of their use has not been proven -because they were mostly used when the majority of the population was at home-, he commented that for a long time they have been a method to reduce the spread of different viruses.
For his part, Dr. Mina Hakim, a pediatric specialist at the South Central Family Health Center, also recommended that children with asthma and other health problems use the mask, however, it must be well adjusted so that they can be used as a method of prevention.
And although experts continue to recommend that minors use masks, these are sometimes the most difficult population, as they tend to remove them even to play, so it is essential that the use of these is complemented by other prevention methods such as the correct hand washing, disinfection of the surfaces with which they are in contact and especially vaccination.
“The mask is a small piece of a much larger shield that we have against COVID. I would use the largest piece of the shield, which is a vaccine, and I would not recommend masks for the general population," he said.
Dr. Monica Gandhi, professor of medicine and deputy chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at San Francisco General Hospital, pointed out that masks are not the best way to stop the transmission of the virus and that if KN95 and KN94 are used, they should be be tight enough so that they can block it.
Finally, Dr. Gandhi said that the use of masks should not be imposed, since their effectiveness has not been proven, so their use should be the decision of the population, however, she recommended carrying out other more effective prevention practices such as vaccination.
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