Joe Biden, the president-elect of the United States, said Thursday, December 3, in an interview with CNN, which will ask Americans to wear face masks for 100 days after taking office.
Along with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Biden said that “it will only be 100 days, not forever. I think we will see a significant reduction ”. With this measure, he seeks to show a totally opposite approach to that of Donald Trump to face the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).
He also said he asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, to be chief, medical adviser and part of his COVID-19 response team.
“I asked him to stay in exactly the same position that he had during the past presidents, and also to be my chief medical adviser and part of the COVID team,” Biden said.
Regarding the masks, Biden said that he will issue an order for them to be used where he has authority, such as in federal buildings, interstate transportation (bus or plane), or airports, among others.
As reported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with social distancing and frequent hand washing with soap and water, the use of masks is one of the best ways to prevent transmission of the disease. coronavirus.
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Which mask is better
Essentially, the classification of masks can be divided into two broad categories: homemade and professional.
In this group we can find:
- N95: It is designed to achieve facial adjustment and very efficient filtration of particles in the air. “N95” means that when carefully tested, the respirator blocks at least 95% of the very small test particles (0.3 microns). They are made of enhanced nonwoven fabric with an electrostatic charge to trap particles that could otherwise penetrate its surface. It is recommended that these masks be reserved for the use of healthcare professionals.
- Surgical: They are made of a material similar to that of the N95, although they may not have an electrostatic charge. With its design, which does not allow to form a seal around the nose and mouth as in the case of the N95, it seeks to avoid exposing patients to saliva or mucus. They are usually disposable.
- Antivirals, bactericides and fungicides: here we can find masks for social use such as Atom Protect (Argentina), Livinguard and Fine Guard, Nanox Tecnología (Brazil), Argaman and Sonovia (Israel), Respilon (Czech Republic) or Copper Compression and Copper Clothing (United Kingdom). In general, they are developed with polyester cotton fabrics that acquire the property of inactivating viruses and killing bacteria or fungi after being treated with various antiviral and antimicrobial products.
These are usually developed with knitted or woven cotton, are more porous than the professional ones and do not usually fit as well. They also do not have an electrostatic charge.
Regarding its effectiveness, a recent study published in Science Advances found that they could be as effective as standard surgical masks. While popular alternatives, like bandanas or neck gaiters made of thin, stretchy material, can turn out to be even worse than not wearing a face cover at all.
This is because the porous fabric of the gaiter breaks down the larger particles into many smaller ones, which are more likely to remain in the air longer, an effect that experts consider “counterproductive.”
How to clean a mask
Specialists advise having more than one mask, to be able to use one while disinfecting the other.
Regarding disinfection, there is also contradictory information. Normally, soap and water are considered the best options, due to their potential to break the structure that keeps the virus compact, breaking it down and allowing all its pieces to remain loose and be eliminated during rinsing.
While this seems to work for home options, it is not recommended for professional masks.
Cleaning them in this way can damage the fabric of the mask and the elastics that hold it on the face. In addition, they are made with very fine fibers that easily fray in contact with water and other substances.
For this reason, many choose to spray alcohol, since it is a way to disinfect without the need to scrub. Although, again, the evidence indicates that this would be counterproductive, since different studies found that after applying alcohol in N95 masks, they captured fewer particles.
So how should the mask be washed? The answer, according to the CDC, is quite simple: leave them hanging for 72 hours, if possible outdoors. Otherwise, you can choose to reserve it in a dry area indoors. In this way you will be able to eliminate the virus without affecting the structure of the mask.