Should we all wear masks? What can we do if masks are not available? Should we all get used to go out with our nose and mouth covered? In Italy the debate is open: a couple of regions have ordered all the citizens to wear a mask or a scarf when out, but health authorities […]
Should we all wear masks? What can we do if masks are not available? Should we all get used to go out with our nose and mouth covered? In Italy the debate is open: a couple of regions have ordered all the citizens to wear a mask or a scarf when out, but health authorities still say that only infected people and health care workers should always wear masks. Similar discussions are ongoing all over the world, especially after the publication of some evidence that show a longer persistence of the virus in the air. That’s why the World Health Organisation today released some advice on the use of masks in the context of Covid-19.
«The use of a mask alone is insufficient to provide an adequate level of protection, and other measures should also be adopted – states the WHO -. Whether or not masks are used, maximum compliance with hand hygiene and other IPC measures is critical to prevent human-to-human transmission of Covid-19».
According to the WHO, «the use of medical masks in the community may create a false sense of security, with neglect of other essential measures, such as hand hygiene practices and physical distancing, and may lead to touching the face under the masks and under the eyes, result in unnecessary costs, and take masks away from those in health care who need them most, especially when masks are in short supply».
Regarding the use of nonmedical masks, «there is no current evidence to make a recommendation for or against their use» in the community setting.
In any case, where masks are worn in accordance with local customs or with advice by national authorities, the World Health Organisation recommends authorities to provide best practices about how to wear, remove, and dispose of them, and for hand hygiene after removal.
Addressing decision makers, the WHO then underlines what should be considered when dealing with the use of masks for healthy people in community settings: