Providing evidence on the ongoing health care workers' mask debate




The scarcity of facemasks, particularly N95 respirators, combined with the lack of solid data to address the suitability of each mask type for adequate health care worker (HCW) protection have caused turmoil among HCWs. Current recommendations suggest mask usage solely during HCW contact with Covid-19 patients, namely plain medical mask for low-risk contacts and N95 for aerosol generating procedures. The distinction regarding the escalation of mask complexity depending on contact type is nevertheless based on plausible theoretical assumptions rather than hard evidence of a clear benefit. Conversely, we suggest that at least a plain mask should be used during all HCWs' contacts in healthcare facilities which constitute a highly probable but often overlooked means of SARS-CoV-2 transmission among HCWs.



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