‘Cloth face masks useless vs. 2019 novel coronavirus’
MANILA, Philippines — Face masks made of cloth will not protect an individual from the 2019 novel coronavirus – acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD) which already infected two Chinese nationals in the Philippines, a physician from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said Wednesday.
Dr. Edsel Salvana, director of the NIH’s Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, said cloth masks do not have filters like those found on surgical masks.
“Ang cloth mask hindi gumagana dahil walang filter. Akala niyo protektado kayo, hindi pala. (A cloth mask is not effective because it does not have filters. You think you are protected but you’re not),” ” Salvana told reporters during the Kapihan at Manila Bay as he discussed the proper ways of wearing face masks.
Salvana reminded the public that those with flu-like symptoms must wear surgical masks to prevent the spread of germs and viruses.
“Kahit walang nCoV parang awa niyo na kung may sakit kayo mag-surgical mask kayo (Even without the nCoV, for those who are sick, please wear surgical masks),” he stressed.
Wearing face mask 101
Salvana pointed out that when wearing surgical masks, the blue or colored side should be facing out.
The nose and the mouth should both be covered by the mask.
‘N95 mask for hospital staff’
The public, Salvana added, should also stop hoarding N95 masks, which can better block small airborne particles, because the masks are primarily used by health workers handling tuberculosis patients.
“Ang N95 masks ang gumagamit lang po niyan ay doctor dahil kailangang ma-fit nang maayos… Subukan niyo huminga sa N95 masks. Ako hindi ako lumalampas ng sampung minuto pumapasok ako para tumingin ng pasyente na may tuberculosis, yun po ang ginagamitan ng N95,” Salvana said.
(Only doctors use N95 masks. If you wear N95 masks you will have difficulty in breathing. I could not last ten minutes when wearing the N95 masks as I use it when treating patients with tuberculosis.)
“Kapag binili niyo lahat ng n95 sa merkado, wala na magagamit ang doktor para tumingin ng pasyente,” Salvana said.
(If you buy all N95 masks in the market, doctors will have nothing to use while treating their patients.)
Recent data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that there are 105 patients under investigation for suspected 2019-nCoV ARD.
There are, so far, two confirmed cases nCoV infection in the Philippines, DOH said.
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