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About Corvid 19 (Coronavirus) and Masks | N95 Masks vs KN95 Masks


Today Tuesday, 31 March 2020 sees the UK wait in anticipation after watching the tragic events unfold in northern Italy and Spain. Other countries too. Corvid-19 a highly contagious disease has shown the world a new order.

What is currently happening? 

Countries are taking the strategy of LOCKDOWN to stop the virus from spreading and living. Schools being one of the first victims- schools are closed by the government, with the knock on issue of childcare. Sporting events and other public gatherings concerts etc are also postponed. There seems not one inch of life that has not be affected by Corvid 19, the official name for the more commonly used coronavirus- or just corona.

The USA FDA says n95 masks should not be worn by the public but not because they don't help but because they should be reserved for the healthcare workers! 


What's the big deal? 

Corvid-19 is nasty. It is going to kill many more people before it is done. For most though it's going to give some nasty symptoms like the dry cough and fever. This initially showed up as a lot of people resisted the lockdown and thought it was an overreaction. After all let's just get it and get over it and then the economy doesn't fold. There is a problem with this though- we have to care for the collateral lives that could be saved- or we are animals. Let's also mention the clinics and hospitals and ICU's being overrun. 

We saw some incredibly sad images from Italy and China where so many people who needed treatment could not get it due to the sheer number of patients at any given time. Having advanced warning the USA and UK were in many people's minds slow to react. Many called for an earlier lockdown. The tightrope of balancing the economy, avoiding a stock crash and reducing casualties is a balance the UK government seemed to be trying to walk.

An ideal situation is a gradual non exponential rate of infection. Viruses do not act like this so the lockdown is needed.

So wouldn't masks be a good idea? If washing hands, sneezing into elbows and social distancing is recommended to avoid catching coronavirus then surely using masks is a good idea? I would say anything that can be done to slow the spread would be good especially if it allows us to break free from lockdown earlier.

A woman walks on a street in Macau, China wearing a protective mask during coronavirus outbreak

The number R

R is variable that indicates how the virus spread is growing or in decline. If R<1 then the virus spread is reducing and the virus will die if this continues. If the R number is greater than one then the virus is still managing to spread. The lockdown is an attempt to reduce R below 1 stopping the virus spread is important to kill it faster.

Coronavirus Masks 

Masks should be available to all who need them. Health workers public or private should have priority access to PPE including masks but perhaps we should all be wearing them at least the N95 and KN95 kind. One thing that seems pretty clear through anecdotal evidence is that the amount of exposure is a key factor in how bad you can get it. It seems a bit like radiation a small amount isn't good but a lot is fatal. Young healthy doctors have died trying to save people. It's one big story to come out of this so far. The health workers are true heroes. These workers need specialist masks. They are even having to invent ways that they don't rub and cut in through their long 12 hour shifts. The USA FDA says n95 masks should not be worn by the public but not because they don't help but because they should be reserved for the healthcare workers! The logic is clearly wrong. They cannot create enough supply and are blocking the identical kn95 models made in China from entering the USA. Putting/keeping supply line protections in place during a pandemic is laudable.

Herd Immunity

Herd immunity is a theory that those who have had the virus and get better develop immunity. They then cannot catch it again and the virus has no one left to spread to. It literally runs out of victims. Until non immunised come out of lockdown that is. This is the danger. Also consider that the virus may mutate. We have heard that some people have caught it again! Anyway this is what the theory of Herd immunity is about. It will start to play a part as lockdowns are relaxed and localised herds of immunity might be created.

Hopefully this nasty virus will not mutate. How long the world will suffer and what cost is on everyone's minds.

Image Photo Credits

Animations thanks to LottieFiles https://lottiefiles.com/coronavirus-animations 

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