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European countries mandate medical-grade masks over cloth face coverings

January 22, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 18.6%. 1 min read.

Confronting new, more transmissible variants of the coronavirus and a winter spike in infections, a number of European countries are beginning to make medical-grade face masks mandatory in the hope that they can slow the spread of the disease.

(CNN)Confronting new, more transmissible variants of the coronavirus and a winter spike in infections, a number of European countries are beginning to make medical-grade face masks mandatory in the hope that they can slow the spread of the disease.

The French government has now mandated that citizens wear single-use surgical FFP1 masks, more protective FFP2 filtering facepiece respirators or fabric masks which meet the same "Category 1" specifications -- blocking more than 90% of particles -- in all public places.

Faced with more transmissible variants, some scientists say that the focus should be on limiting the amount of viral aerosol exposure as much as possible -- and recent studies suggest the best way to do that is through medical-grade masks, in addition to other public health measures.

There is some scientific evidence that medical-grade masks offer more protection and can help prevent the spread of the virus.

A study published in the Lancet medical journal in June comparing transmission rates across 16 countries found that N95s and other respirator-type masks might give greater protection from viral transmission than surgical or multi-layered cotton masks.

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