Multiple factors are involved in the debate about whether or not to use masks in public spaces to fight coronavirus. Among others, the need to preserve the supply of masks for healthcare use. However, Catalan doctors Bonaventura Clotet and Oriol Mitjà consider the use of these elements "may be key" to contain the pandemic and make an appeal in this regard in statements to ElNacional.cat.
The two infectious disease experts wanted to make their appeal public now that the Spanish government has decreed a total lockdown, and they back it up with recent reports, such as the one published in The Lancet, which compares the criteria applied in different countries regarding this issue.
Clotet points out that "recent studies show that the size of the drops expelled when coughing are relatively large", meaning that "surgical masks, which are not in short supply, and even home-made masks, cause a partial reduction in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, which can be very valuable at this time".
For his part, Mitjà reminds us that the benefit of the massive use of masks is not that they filter the air for the healthy, but that masks “cover the mouths of people already infected, so that the drops they expel do not contaminate public surfaces.”
"When people talk and breathe - no need even for them to sneeze or cough - they expel droplets that fall onto surfaces, spaces or common objects. Droplets from infected people, whether they have symptoms or not, contain infectious particles," stresses the epidemiologist.