News Intel Donates Masks to Healthcare Workers Fighting Coronavirus

Giroro

Honorable
Jan 22, 2015
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I don't really understand this whole face mask situation.
The medical authorities say they are totally useless and us unwashed masses shouldn't buy/wear them because they are a super valuable resource that needs to be readily available. So which is it? Why do doctors want them so badly if they don't do anything?

I assume Intel has so many masks becuase of their clean rooms, where they presumably help somehow... but where are they sending these useless/lifesaving masks, and why?
I have some dust masks, and I honestly can't figure out if it's worthwhile to send one to my scared sister in Virgina - especially since wearing a mask that isn't deemed medically necessary by your doctor (and you're carrying paperwork) is still somehow a class 6 felony in Virginia.
The Governor of Virginia had an opportunity to temporarily suspend that prohibition of masks if it were deemed necessary in the declaration of emergency... but that didn't happen
So are the face masks necessary?
Did Virginia mess up, or is the mask thing a waste of time?
If it isn't a waste of time, in what situations are they actually necessary? People keep saying its for sick people, but if they can't stop a virus from passing through then what do they do?

https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/all-releases/2020/march/headline-853537-en.html
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
So are the face masks necessary?
The primary role of basic face masks in the medical field (and clean rooms) isn't so much to keep stuff out to protect yourself as it is to keep stuff IN to keep you from contaminating everything else in your vicinity. Also reduces the amount of your face that is touchable so you aren't as likely to make that mistake.

They are "useless" for the general public because most people will end up making hygiene mistakes that will bypass the mask. Also, if you observe spacing and hygiene recommendations, the masks are mostly unnecessary. For doctors and nurses who are in hospitals and have to be hands-on with people, distance is not an option so every extra precaution available needs to be taken to compensate.
 
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TMTOWTSAC

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As best I understand it, properly worn masks do help prevent infection. Emphasis on properly worn, because people new to wearing masks have been found to constantly fiddle with them, taking them off and putting them back on, touching their faces etc. Things that actually increase the likelihood of infection.

Preventing the wearer from infection isn't their primary benefit though. They are much more effective at preventing a contagious mask wearer from infecting others. They 'catch' some amount of exhaled water vapor, and redirect much more to the sides as opposed to directly forwards.

The sad truth is that it's assumed that all medical personnel will eventually contract the disease, so masks reduce the number of people they may infect before becoming symptomatic.

And all this was for surgical masks btw, not respirators.

And looks like InvalidError types way faster than I do.
 
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USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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They are for doctors and nurses to keep them from breathing on other people.

The mechanics of a mask like that is that if you;re wearing one, as you breathe IN...air molecules come in from around the edges.
As you breathe OUT, the mask traps a lot of what may be expelled.

1 nurse comes into contact with 100 people. If 3 of them have an already compromised immune system, what the nurse breathes out may impact them.
1 nurse, 1 mask, 100 people.

You, OTOH, 1 mask, 1 person.

We don't have 300 million masks, to be replaced every day, twice a day.
 

bit_user

Splendid
Herald
One million masks down, 499M more to go based on estimates I heard a few days ago.
I've heard up to 3B will be needed in the US, alone.

I think that assumes every healthcare worker is using one mask per patient encounter, as per normal hospital practice. Seems like overkill, especially in cases where you're in a contained environment and you know every patient either has or had the virus. Although, I guess they're probably wearing full hazard suits, in those situations.
 
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bit_user

Splendid
Herald
I don't really understand this whole face mask situation.
The medical authorities say they are totally useless and us unwashed masses shouldn't buy/wear them because they are a super valuable resource that needs to be readily available. So which is it? Why do doctors want them so badly if they don't do anything?
You don't need a mask, if you follow the advice of distancing, hand-washing, and not face-touching.

If you use a mask in close proximity to someone who has it, and you don't follow the proper removal procedure, you could actually infect yourself (since virus will be present on the outside of the mask). So, wearing one could create a false sense of security that results in people not maintaining a safe distance, and then getting exposed.

Finally, even though masks aren't 100%, they will at least reduce the viral load, which is an important risk factor faced by healthworkers. Basically, if you get a high initial dose of the virus, it can multiply far more, before your immune system has a chance to react, which results in a far worse prognosis for you.

So are the face masks necessary?
For the general public, the main group who should wear masks are people who are definitely or potentially infected. In this population, the mask can reduce their chance of infecting others.

People keep saying its for sick people, but if they can't stop a virus from passing through then what do they do?
It's a matter of degree. So, for a sick person, even reducing the amount of virus they spread can lower the chance of infecting someone else. In that sense, the mask doesn't have to be 100%, in order to be helpful.

Likewise, for healthcare workers who can't maintain a safe distance and aren't in high-contact environments, it could either reduce their chances of infection or at least reduce the risk of complications.

For healthcare workers in high-contact situations, I'd imagine they're wearing "space suits", or at least wearing the masks along with face shields.
 

daglesj

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Jul 14, 2007
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Nothing philanthropic about it. It's new rules that state if a compnay is sitting on masses of supplies specific to helping with the pandemic, then they need to let them go or face legal consequences.

Hence why Facebook has just given up a load of facemasks. Otherwise why didn't they all release them a couple of weeks ago rather than all doing it now?
 

Co BIY

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Jun 18, 2015
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The sad truth is that it's assumed that all medical personnel will eventually contract the disease, so masks reduce the number of people they may infect before becoming symptomatic.
I think with proper precautions most health workers will not get the virus.

South Korea was reported to have no health care worker cases. (could not find source in quick search)

And I see reports of only 14 health worker cases in Wuhan. (who knows about the truth of anything that happened in China)
 

TMTOWTSAC

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Jun 27, 2015
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Sorry, I should have said the 100% infection rate was a figure I'd heard for the spread of an uncontained global pandemic. But I can't seem to find any reputable sources for it so I should retract that statement.

Anecdotally, the WHO reported 2055 health care workers in China had been infected as of Feb 20th.


WHO China joint mission on Covid 19

Transmission in health care settings and among health care workers(HCW)–The Joint Mission discussed nosocomial infection in all locations visited during the Mission. As of 20 February 2020, there were 2,055 COVID-19 laboratory-confirmed cases reported among HCW from 476 hospitals across China. The majority of HCW cases (88%) were reported from Hubei.
Italy is reported to have > 4000 infected

Italy

And Spain over 5000.

EU

Couldn't find any current data for the US.
 

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