Abstract In the COVID-19 pandemic setting, wearing face masks has become routine and omnipresent, both in hospitals and communities. Wearing an FFP2 mask can keep you, as well as others, safe from spreading coronavirus.
If you need to come into close contact with someone who is not wearing a mask, wearing an FFP2 face mask, face shield, or another type of eye protection can offer some added protection against viral transmission. In general, you do not need a face shield if you are wearing a mask and maintaining a physical distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others in public. If you need to use a face shield in lieu of a mask, choose one that is wrapped around the sides of your face and reaches under the jawline.
The CDC does not recommend using a face shield in place of a mask, as it is not clear how much protection a shield provides. Do not wear a mask-less face shield, as that does not protect against the small droplets in the air that may drift underneath and within the shield, CDC recommends. At Johns Hopkins Medicine, medical teams wear visors on top of N95 masks or respirators during the treatment of patients to provide extra protection.
Do not wear scarves or knitted ski masks as protective measures, CDC says. The good news is if everyone is wearing a properly fitted medical or, better yet, an FFP2 mask, the risk drops significantly. Tight-fitting FFP2 and KN95 masks are especially protective when both infected and non-infected people are wearing the proper masks.
A comprehensive study confirmed that either the FFP2 or KN95 masks are especially effective in filtering infectious particles out of the air you breathe — particularly when sealed tighter around your face. If surgically sealed tight to the face, FFP2, FFP3, and KN95/N95 masks are especially protective against not just droplet infections, but they provide high levels of aerosol protection. Especially in situations when distancing rules cannot be consistently followed, and multiple individuals are coming together for long periods, surgical masks, as well as masks with the grades FFP2, FFP3, and KN95/N95, offer a higher level of infection protection than what is offered by the usual public masks.
Nowadays, however, surgical, FFP2, FFP3, and N95/KN95 masks are also recommended for daily use, and wearing such masks is mandated in many places. The arguments against using home-made masks and face shields are that home-made masks would be several times less effective than the medical-grade masks at keeping a person who is wearing them from spreading a virus, and would have little or no benefit to protecting the person wearing them. The argument made in favor of their use, by, among others, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, is that homemade masks and face coverings may help to limit the spread of the virus in crowded, public settings where social distancing is difficult, such as on public transportation or at supermarkets.
The wearing of face masks by non-symptomatic users, if used correctly, significantly reduced transmission, in essence, by protecting the environment of the wearer. The full-length study also supports the intuitive suggestion that to effectively protect against infection, particularly an infected individual must wear a mask that filters well as possible and fits securely over the face. In other words, wearing a face mask is mostly about protecting others.