“It is a weapon against the coronavirus”

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Many rumors circulate on social networks about the “ineffectiveness” of masks and the “possible dangers” they represent. Validated by the scientific community, the mask is indeed useful. “We don’t have a lot of weapons against the Covid-19. The mask is one of them, ”recalls Yves Coppieters. Here are six statements, compiled by AFP, to ban absolutely.

1.The mask decreases the oxygen supply: FALSE

“It’s a fantasy,” confirms Yves Coppieters, epidemiologist and professor of public health at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB).

“The mask can possibly slightly decrease the oxygen supply and interfere with the breathing of a person with heart or respiratory problems or in case of great physical exertion such as jogging,” he explains. “There may also be a feeling of discomfort that causes a feeling of suffocation, but it is psychological. In the case of a healthy person, it does not prevent normal daily activities at all. ”

Many videos of health professionals are also circulating on social networks to contradict this false statement with the support of measuring devices.

2.The mask increases the inhalation of toxins: FALSE

“We don’t exhale toxins,” corrects Jean-Luc Gala, head of clinic at the Saint Luc University Clinic in Brussels and specialist in infectious diseases, “we exhale carbon dioxide”.

“The mask filters the virus, but not the molecules. A virus is much larger than a molecule of oxygen or carbon dioxide. ”

In addition, a small accumulation of CO2 would not cause health problems, according to Professor Vinita Dubey, medical officer of health at the Toronto Public Health Agency in Canada.

3.The mask damages the immune system: FALSE

The masks have no impact on the immune system: “Healthcare workers spend eight hours a day with a mask and they do not develop secondary infections or health problems,” recalls Yves Coppieters.

Lack of oxygen effectively releases cortisol, which weakens the immune system. But since there is no decrease in oxygen supply, this does not apply when wearing a mask.

4.The mask increases the risk of retrovirus activation: FALSE

Could dormant viruses in the body “wake up” when wearing a mask?

“This is completely false,” answers Jean-Luc Gala. “For example, we know that certain leukemias are triggered by retroviruses. However, we have never seen people inflame the disease after a transplant while patients wear masks after an operation. It was never an aggravating factor. ”

5.The size of the mask compared to the new coronavirus is equivalent to that of a “mosquito net”: FALSE

Compared to the size of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, between 80 and 140 nanometers, the weaving of the mask would be equivalent to “that of a mosquito net”. This is false, explains Yves Coppieters: “Surgical masks have a filtration capacity of microorganisms of 90%, including for the Covid-19. For FFP2 masks used in intensive care, this capacity increases to 98%, 99%. For cloth masks, it is lower, but we still estimate it at between 50% and 70% ”.

In addition, the mask also protects others from the projection of contaminated droplets, much larger than the virus.

Yves Coppieters reminds, however, that to be effective against respiratory infections, a mask must be well used: “A mask must be clean, it must be adjusted on the face, and lowered to the level of the chin. Once it is installed, you should especially not touch it with your potentially infected hands. We wash our hands before putting it on and after. ”

The FPS Economy also recalls that this type of mask above is ineffective. “We are seeing this type of mask more and more often, especially in the catering sector. It offers insufficient protection and should therefore not be used as an alternative to the compulsory mask. ”

6.The effectiveness of the mask is not studied: UNFOUNDED

“It is as if you reproach that one does not study the effectiveness of the parachute in a social environment, relativizes Jean-Luc Gala. We are certain that the parachute will help you land unscathed, so we will not blow up a person with a parachute and one without to compare the effectiveness! We are in the case of a device which we know empirically that it protects. We have seen this with all the experiences of African diseases and with the epidemiological evolution in Asian countries. We have also seen this here in Europe, where certain countries which have adopted the mask have been able to more effectively control the progression of the pandemic ”.

We are in the case of a device which we know empirically that it protects.

In addition, in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study on Tuesday July 14, 2020 after two employees of a Missouri hair salon tested positive for coronavirus. They had continued to work for several days wearing a mask and had been in contact with 139 clients. 67 of these clients tested negative for Covid-19, the others developed no symptoms. The study therefore concludes that the wearing of a mask is effective in curbing the transmission of the virus.

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