Throughout the Pandemic, masks have been a fundamental tool in our fight against the spread of Covid-19. Whether it be cloth, homemade, blue surgical, or N95, they have helped to some degree.
However, the emergence of the new Omicron variant has changed the game. The transmissibility of the variant has many experts concerned that single layer, cloth masks, and some surgical masks just won’t cut it anymore.
Dasantila Golemi-Kotra, a biology professor at York University, says that no matter how high the supposed quality of the mask you are wearing, whether it be cloth, surgical, or N95, there should be no gaps between your skin and mask. For the most part, surgical masks do a good job, but their weaknesses come from gaps in the side and top of the mask that allows exhaled particles to escape. Pleated cloth masks with two or more layers of protection provide a barrier around the top and sides of the mask-so this may be a viable option for many. To learn more, click here.
Isaac Bogoch, an Infectious Diseases Consultant from the University of Toronto, echoes Golemi-Kotra’s message. “Here’s what’s not a high-quality mask: those really, really flimsy cloth masks that are you know, single layer. Like, that’s just not going to cut it, it’s just not going to cut it… good masking and tight fit, tight seal is going to help.” Bogoch mentions that masks are not our only tool. The combination of testing, social distancing, vaccine boosters, and proper face protection will help blunt the impact of this wave. To learn more, click here.
The data shows that Omicron is 4.2 times more transmissible than the Delta variant, which up until this point has been the most transmissible and prevalent strain worldwide. The Delta variant is 60% more transmissible than predecessors. This 60% transmission increase multiplied by an additional 420% is why the quality and types of masks that people are wearing are so crucial. Their use will lessen community spread.
From these pieces of information, the image is clear: we need to re-evaluate the masks we are using. Now is not the time to use single-ply, convenient, and easy masks. We all need to do our part in using the appropriate face coverings that fit tight and have multiple layers. If you need face coverings, click here to view our selection of Canadian-made N95 masks and respirators!