Rush hour in the subway in Beijing, on April 7, 2020.
Photo : Reuters / Tingshu Wang
For weeks, the governments and health agencies argue that the masks are not useful for protecting the population against the coronavirus and that only the patients and the nursing staff must be used. Purpose, since a few days, we hear a new discourse. What does he think? The opinions are divided.
1. The masks are they effective against the COVID-19?
Alex Carignan, a professor in the Department of microbiology and infectiology, University of Sherbrooke, is not convinced of the merits of the idea of imposing masks to the public at large.
There is a strong public pressure and media [in this sense], but there is no scientific evidence to support the wearing of the mask in the population, ” he says.
The risk, argues Dr. Carignan to the issuance By here the info, it is that people use it as a “miracle solution” and neglect the proven measures, such as the detachment physical and the washing of hands.
In addition, he points out, most people don’t know how to wear a mask properly, and the handle constantly, that fact that they are more at risk of contaminating and infecting others.
It becomes a double-edged sword […] and it gives people who carry a false sense of security.
Alex Carignan, a professor at the University of Sherbrooke
No State or organization only advocates the use of surgical masks, for fear of a shortage.
Photo : afp via getty images / SAM PANTHAKY
For his part, Dr. Cécile Tremblay, microbiologist-infectiologist at Centre hospitalier de l’université de Montréal (CHUM) estimates that the port of the mask is ” an additional measure is valid “, to the extent that the information on the virus evolves and that we now know that asymptomatic persons can transmit infection.
However, she adds in an interview with Patrice Roy (New window), it has no real scientific studies that have demonstrated, at the level of a given population, than to wear the mask, in addition to the other measures that had been taken.
2. What says the science?
There are studies on the benefits of wearing a mask for health care workers, but not for the general population. And even less on the use of homemade masks.
A review of the literature on the subject, published in the medical journal The Lancet (New window), 20 march 2020, however, stress that there is a critical distinction between absence of evidence and evidence of absence.
As the evidence suggests that the COVID-19 may be transmitted prior to the onset of symptoms, the transmission of community could be reduced if everyone, including persons who are infected purpose asymptomatic and contagious, it wears out facial masks, concludes the study.
The hypothesis that the disease could be transmitted by aerosol, in the air that expires a year infected person, has not yet been proven scientifically.
3. As advocated by the authorities?
The hot weather that prevailed in Toronto on April 2, 2020 has drawn people to the outdoors in spite of the warnings of the prime minister, who asked to remain home to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.
Photo : Radio-Canada / Evan Tsuyoshi Mitsui
Theworld health Organization (WHO) does not advise the wearing of masks by the entire population, in particular in open spaces. The widespread use of masks by healthy people in the community framework is not supported by the current evidence and uncertainty and serious risks, ” the organization wrote in an opinion dated 6 April.
The WHO recommends the use of masks for those who have symptoms of the COVID-19 gold care of persons likely to be affected by the disease.
There is currently no evidence that the wearing of a mask (medical or otherwise) by persons in good health […] can prevent to be infected by respiratory viruses, including the COVID-19.
Advice of WHO
On the contrary, the Organization is concerned about the false sense of security that could be the bearers of masks, which might come to a neglect of measures such as hand washing and social distancing.
Thepublic health Agency of Canada suggests from the 5 April to wear a mask as a “further measure” when other measures of social distancing are difficult to apply.
Before this date, the position of the Agency was rather that only people with symptoms should use it.
The mask, however, must be non-medical, in order to reserve the masks for medical personnel of health care institutions.
There is no evidence that the wearing of a mask has non-medical in the community protects the person who wears out it […] Wear a face mask non-medical is an additional measure you can take to protect the people who surround you, even if you don’t have symptoms.
Public health agency of Canada
François Legault said Quebecers should concentrate on other measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Photo : Radio-Canada
On the Quebec side, there are no clear guidelines.
It can help to add a mask to the citizens in order to avoid the spread of the virus, has supported the prime minister François Legault during his press conference on 7 April. However, he recalled that the port mask is used to protect others and not the one who wears out it.
It is a lot more effective to stay away from other people if we don’t want to contaminate it, rather than wearing a mask.
François Legault, Quebec’s first
The main fear is that people take of the masks that should be reserved for medical staff.
For its part, theInstitut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) pointed out that there was no consensus on the effectiveness of wearing a mask to prevent respiratory diseases, but they may, however, be some utility to limit the projection of droplets in the environment.
Masks [made at home] might help to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus by persons with asymptomatic gold little symptomatic that circulate in public places where it is difficult to avoid close contact with others, wrote the INSPQ, in an opinion published on 7 April.
4. That is recommended elsewhere?
Marcos Hernandez sells face masks home made in Los Angeles, the United States, on April 4, 2020.
Photo : Reuters / Kyle Grillot
In the United States, the Centers for disease control and prevention of diseases, the main federal agency of protection of public health, have changed his mind recently and now recommend that people use masks in fabric to cover the face when they are in public places where it is difficult to maintain the measures of distance. The aim is to prevent the transmission by asymptomatic individuals.
President Donald Trump has also encouraged Americans to make their own masks.
The position of The authorities is similar in France and in Germany, where it recommends the use of homemade masks to the outside as a precautionary measure. “There is still no scientific evidence” that they limit the spread of the virus, but it “seems plausible,” said Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert-Koch-Institute, the institution of reference in public health.
The european Centre prevention and control (ECDC) has also to change sti recommendations and has been recognized, the 8 April, that the use of masks by the whole of the population can be an effective measure to combat the sars coronavirus.
The use of face masks in public can serve as a means of source control to reduce the spread of infection in the community by minimizing the excretion of respiratory droplets of infected people who have not yet developed symptoms gold that remain asymptomatic, it is written in the publication of the ECDC, which emphasizes that it is not known to what extent the use of masks in the community may contribute to a decrease of the transmission.
In the streets of Beijing, face masks are ubiquitous.
Photo : Reuters / Carlos Garcia Rawlins
In Asia, the situation is very different. In countries such as China, South Korea, Thailand gold Japan, the mask-wearing by people seized is current. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the masks are ubiquitous.
In an interview published by the journal Science (New window), the director-general of the chinese Center for control and prevention of diseases, George Gao, had declared, on the 27th of march last, that the great mistake in the United States and Europe is that people do not wear masks.
Many people are asymptomatic or do not exhibit further symptoms, with a mask, it can prevent the droplets that carry the virus to escape and infect others, he added.