Who Do Masks Protect: The Wearer Others Or Both
We’ve known for some time that masks help prevent people from spreading the coronavirus to others. Based on an analysis of existing information, a new study contends that masks may also protect mask wearers from becoming infected themselves.
Different masks, writes the study author, block viral particles to varying degrees. If masks lead to lower “doses” of virus being inhaled, then fewer people may become infected, and those who do may have milder illness.
Researchers in China experimented with hamsters to test the effect of masks. They put healthy hamsters and hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2 in a cage, and separated some of the healthy and infected hamsters with a barrier made of surgical masks. Many of the “masked” healthy hamsters did not get infected, and those who did got less sick than previously healthy “maskless” hamsters.
A similar experiment cannot ethically be done in humans. But researchers have studied doses of flu virus and found that people who inhaled a higher dose of flu virus were more likely to get sick and experience symptoms. Observations of coronavirus outbreaks in processing plants and on cruise ships also support the idea that masks may help protect mask wearers.
Without more research, we can’t be certain that masks protect the wearer. But we do know they don’t hurt, and that they protect others.
Should I Wear A Face Mask
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through viral particles that float in the air or through droplets containing virus. Even people who are infected but do not have symptoms, or have not yet developed symptoms, can infect others. Masks reduce the amount of virus we breathe in and breathe out. Combined with the vaccine, masks provide a one-two punch that reduce the risk of spread to children who are not yet eligible for vaccines, to people with weakened immune systems, and to others who are unvaccinated. Masks also provide additional protection for the wearer, even those who are fully vaccinated.
In July 2021, the CDC advised all people vaccinated and unvaccinated to wear masks in public indoor places in areas of the country with widespread transmission of the virus. The CDC has always advised unvaccinated people to mask indoors, and also advises anyone at increased risk to wear a mask indoors, regardless of the level of community transmission.
Transmission is much less likely to occur outdoors, and masks are not needed in most outdoor settings.
What kind of mask should you wear? Although the CDC recommends masks made of two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric, surgical masks have been shown to be more effective than cloth masks at filtering out smaller particles. Regardless of the type of mask you wear, make sure it completely covers your nose and mouth and fits snugly against the sides of your face without leaving any gaps.
Will The Booster Protect You From The Omicron Variant
Research shows that the booster jab does offer more protection. All of the vaccines in our study do show a statistically significant boost, said Professor Saul Faust, trial lead and director of the NIHR Clinical Research Facility at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.
The latest CovBoost trial, published in the Lancet, involved 2,878 people aged 30 or over who received a booster 10 to 12 weeks after their initial two jabs.
Although the newly emerged Omicron variant was not tested in the study, the study showed that booster vaccines are working well against existing variants.
The data clearly shows that all boosters provided a lift to at least one aspect of your Covid immunity, and that side effects were, on the whole, mild, Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, added.
Professor Chris Whitty, Chief medical officer for England, has also previously urged people to be boosted for better protection against Omicron.
Boosters give you the best possible protection against the virus and should significantly reduce your risk of serious illness and hospitalisation, he said. Get your Covid-19 booster vaccine to strengthen your protection. Please, get boosted now.
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Should I Postpone My Elective Surgery
The availability of elective surgeries and procedures throughout the United States is very fluid, and may reflect the number of cases and infection rate in a given area. If COVID-19 cases are rising in your area, it’s quite possible that you already have been canceled or rescheduled by the hospital or medical center in which you are scheduled to have the procedure. If not, you should consider postponing any procedure that can wait.
That being said, keep in mind that “elective” is a relative term. For instance, you may not have needed immediate surgery for sciatica caused by a herniated disc. But the pain may be so severe that you would not be able to endure postponing the surgery for weeks or perhaps months. In that case, you and your doctor should make a shared decision about proceeding.
Use Caution In Closed Spaces And Crowded Places
The risk of COVID-19 is higher when you’re around someone who has COVID-19 in closed spaces and crowded places. You’re at higher risk in settings where these factors overlap or involve activities such as:
- close-range conversations
- heavy breathing
If a space feels stuffy or smelly, it probably isn’t well ventilated. If you feel the space isn’t well ventilated or is too crowded, follow all individual public health measures while in that space. You may also choose to:
- avoid that space
- limit the amount of time spent in the space
Learn more about:
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What To Read Watch And Listen To About Coronavirus
New Scientist Weekly features updates and analysis on the latest developments in the covid-19 pandemic. Our podcast sees expert journalists from the magazine discuss the biggest science stories to hit the headlines each week from technology and space, to health and the environment.
The Jump is a BBC Radio 4 series exploring how viruses can cross from animals into humans to cause pandemics. The first episode examines the origins of the covid-19 pandemic.
Why Is Covid Killing People of Colour? is a BBC documentary, which investigates what the high covid-19 death rates in ethnic minority patients reveal about health inequality in the UK.
Panorama: The Race for a Vaccine is a BBC documentary about the inside story of the development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine against covid-19.
Race Against the Virus: Hunt for a Vaccine is a Channel 4 documentary which tells the story of the coronavirus pandemic through the eyes of the scientists on the frontline.
The New York Times is assessing the progress in development of potential drug treatments for covid-19, and ranking them for effectiveness and safety.
Humans of COVID-19 is a project highlighting the experiences of key workers on the frontline in the fight against coronavirus in the UK, through social media.
Coronavirus, Explained on Netflix is a short documentary series examining the coronavirus pandemic, the efforts to fight it and ways to manage its mental health toll.
When Can I Get The Coronavirus Vaccine
Now that the Food and Drug Administration has issued emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines, vaccines are being distributed across the United States.
If you are a Johns Hopkins Medicine patient, visit our COVID-19 Vaccine Information and Updates page for current information on getting vaccinated. Your states health department website can also provide updates on vaccine distribution in your area.
Coronavirus Email Alerts
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Fully Vaccinated Doesnt Mean Immune To Covid
At one point, we thought that being fully vaccinated meant we could leave our masks behind and go back to the normal that weve been longing for. The new COVID-19 variants have pretty much killed that dream. Dr. Cardona says now is not the time to let your guard down. While the vaccines are potent, theres still a chance that you could become infected.
Fully vaccinated means that you completed a COVID-19 vaccine series as recommended for the best protection against severe complications such as hospitalizations and/or death. No vaccine offers 100% protection against illness, yet it does give you a better chance to fight off the infectious consequences of being exposed to the SARS-CoV2 virus.
Can We Catch The Omicron Variant Twice
Sadly, the answer is yes, but Professor Hunter does add some reasons for optimism.
We will be able to catch Omicron more than once, though subsequent infections will almost always be less severe than the first time round, he says. Most people who catch Omicron can probably look forward to at least a year before catching it again.
Its crucial to still show caution around Covid, though, as research is ongoing and as weve seen repeatedly, new variants can change the state of play very quickly.
If another variant comes along during that time, that could still escape immunity from Omicron and cause an earlier infection, Prof. Hunter adds.
We have no data yet about whether having a booster and catching the Omicron virus give you more protection, but it almost certainly will.
The best evidence comes from the finding that people who have had two doses and had an infection have some of the best immunity on a par with people with three vaccine doses, especially against severe disease.
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Do You Need To Test Out Of Isolation Or Quarantine
For those who test positive for COVID and isolate for the required five-day period without symptoms, there is not currently a requirement to test before you see people again, according to the most recent CDC guidance.
“If an individual has access to a test and wants to test, the best approach is to use an antigen test towards the end of the five-day isolation period,” the CDC guidance states. “If your test result is positive, you should continue to isolate until day 10. If your test result is negative, you can end isolation, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10.”
The advice for those who tested positive and experienced symptoms also does not indicate a testing requirement, but rather, the person must remain “fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication” and other symptoms should have improved before they end their isolation, which must last a minimum of five days.
Both symptomatic and asymptomatic people should continue wearing masks around others for an additional five days, the guidance states.
For those in quarantine, however, the guidance is different.
According to the CDC, those exposed to COVID who develop symptoms should test immediately and enter isolation protocols until they receive their results and if they positive.
About Author: Lisa Coon
Lisa Coon is a Writing Coordinator for OSF HealthCare, where she has worked since August 2016. A Peoria native, she is a graduate of Bradley University with a degree in journalism. Previously, she worked as a reporter and editor at several newspapers in Iowa and Illinois.She lives in Groveland with her husband and son. In her free time she likes to cook, bake and read. She freely admits that reality TV is a weakness, and she lives by the quote, The beach is good for the soul.
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Can People Infect Pets With The Covid
The virus that causes COVID-19 does appear to spread from people to pets, according to the FDA. Research has found that cats and ferrets are more likely to become infected than dogs.
If you have a pet, do the following to reduce their risk of infection:
- Avoid letting pets interact with people or animals that do not live in your household.
- Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
- Walk dogs on a leash maintaining at least six feet from other people and animals.
- Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.
If you become sick with COVID-19, restrict contact with your pets, just like you would around other people. This means you should forgo petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding with your pet until you are feeling better. When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick. If you must care for your pet while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with your pets and wear a face mask.
Should I Go To The Doctor Or Dentist For Nonurgent Appointments
Many medical and dental practices have instituted comprehensive safety measures to help protect you, the doctor and office staff, and other patients. If you feel anxious about visiting in person, call the practice.
Many doctor’s offices are increasingly providing telehealth services. This may mean appointments by phone call, or virtual visits using a video chat service. Ask to schedule a telehealth appointment with your doctor for a new or ongoing nonurgent matter. If, after speaking to you, your doctor would like to see you in person, he or she will let you know.
What if your appointments are not urgent but also don’t fall into the low-risk category? For example, if you have been advised to have periodic scans after cancer remission, if your doctor sees you regularly to monitor for a condition for which you’re at increased risk, or if your treatment varies based on your most recent test results? In these and similar cases, call your doctor for advice.
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Lately Ive Seen More People Wearing Two Masks Should I Be Double Masking
In situations where you need to wear a mask, double masking is still a good idea. A lab study published in MMWR observed masked and unmasked dummies that released aerosol particles from a mouthpiece when they were simulated to cough or breathe. The study found that wearing a multilayered cloth mask over a surgical mask or wearing a tightly fitted surgical mask substantially increased the level of protection for both the mask wearer and others.
When double masking, the CDC recommends wearing a snug cloth mask over a surgical mask. Surgical masks provide better filtration, but tend to fit loosely. Cloth masks close any gaps and provide another layer of protection. Surgical masks are sometimes called medical masks or medical procedure masks.
Adjusting a surgical mask for a tighter fit using a method called “knotting and tucking” also offers good protection. To knot and tuck a surgical mask, knot the ear loops of a 3-ply face mask where they join the edge of the mask, then fold and tuck the unneeded material under the edges. For video instructions on how to knot and tuck a surgical mask, . Mask fitters, or mask braces, which are worn over a cloth or surgical mask, can also improve mask fit.
In the CDC’s lab study, double masking or tight-fitting surgical masks reduced both transmission of and exposure to aerosols by about 95% compared to no masking.
Covid: Double Vaccinated Can Still Spread Virus At Home
Health editor, BBC News online
Double jabbed people are catching Covid and passing it on to those they live with, warn experts who have studied UK household cases.
Individuals who have had two vaccine doses can be just as infectious as those who have not been jabbed.
Even if they have no or few symptoms, the chance of them transmitting the virus to other unvaccinated housemates is about two in five, or 38%.
This drops to one in four, or 25%, if housemates are also fully vaccinated.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases work shows why getting even more people vaccinated and protected is important, they say.
Unvaccinated people cannot rely on those around them being jabbed to remove their risk of getting infected, they warn.
Vaccines do an excellent job of preventing serious Covid illness and deaths, but are less good at stopping infections, particularly since the emergence of the more infectious Delta variant which is dominant in the UK.
And over time, the protection offered by vaccines wanes and needs boosting with further doses.
Since households are where most Covid transmission occurs, making sure every member who is eligible for a vaccine has had one and is up to date with their doses makes sense, say experts.
According to the study, which ran from September 2020 to September 2021 and included 440 households in London and Bolton doing PCR Covid tests:
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Catching Covid Gives You An Immunity Boost
Coronavirus antibodies from natural infection can last for at least six months for the majority of people who have had the virus, according to a UK Biobank study of the original strain. Researchers said the results indicated antibodies produced following natural infection may provide a degree of protection for most people.
According to new analysis from the Zoe Covid Study app, 81% of participants who took an antibody test after a known Covid-19 infection tested positive for anti-N antibodies the antibodies acquired from a natural infection, not vaccination.
Professor Paul Hunter, an expert in infectious diseases at the University of East Anglia says: Infection whether with Omicron or any other variant will boost your immunity. That immunity will be better against the same variant but will also boost immunity to other variants though less powerfully. Against severe disease there is better cross immunity between variants than seen for cross immunity against mild infection.
Physical Distancing Masks Vaccines And Other Preventive Measures
You’ve gotten the basics down: you’re wearing your mask when you need to, avoiding crowds, and keeping your distance. But you likely still have questions. Does wearing a mask protect you, others, or both? How exactly will physical distancing help? And what do you need to know about the new COVID-19 vaccines?
Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center for more information on coronavirus and COVID-19.
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