Surgical masks offer better protection vs. Covid-19: Magalong

Mayor Benjamin Magalong has appealed to residents, regardless of vaccination status, to use medical-grade or surgical masks instead of cloth masks for better protection amid the threat of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

“People may also opt for double masks using cloth masks over surgical ones for an added layer of defense against the new variant said to be far more contagious than the previous ones,” the mayor said in a statement released by the city’s Public Information Office (PIO) on Thursday.

Magalong said health experts in the United States and other countries currently experiencing a surge in infections have recommended upgrading from reusable cloth masks to more protective medical-grade disposable masks.

The mayor is currently under mandatory quarantine after traveling to the United States to visit his parents.

He said the N95 mask is said to be the “gold standard” pandemic mask that can filter out 95 percent of airborne particles as approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the US.

However, with its much higher cost, disposable surgical masks that are at least three-ply are said to be next to N95 in terms of efficiency.

“Even though Omicron is proving to be milder, its high transmissibility remains a concern as it can cause asymptomatic to mild cases to rise exponentially and can still upend the city’s health care system. This is why we should not take the omicron threat lightly and do everything to prepare through tightened restrictions, enhanced all-around control measures, and strict adherence to minimum public health standards including the proper wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment like face masks,” he added.

In a phone interview, PIO chief Aileen Refuerzo said the city has come up with preparedness measures as early as when the Omicron variant was first detected in other countries.

She said aside from issuing stricter entry protocols, a general curfew, and a 12-hour liquor ban, the city also prepared isolation areas for reopening to accommodate Covid-19 patients.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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