Omicron means high-grade masks are needed - particularly for health and care workers
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Anyone using a single-layer cloth mask to protect themselves from Omicron needs to upgrade, according to experts in Canada.
The scientific director of Ontario’s Science Advisory Table, Dr Peter Jüni, said Omicron was about six times more infectious than the previous Delta virus and advised people with single layer mask to "ditch it" for something better, according to the CTV News website.
He added that higher grade masks were essential now for front-line workers.
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He said: "One thing which is really important to realise is if you have a single layer cloth mask ditch it, full stop.
“The minimum would be a double layered cloth mask that has been washed before so that it is denser and filters better and really fits well.
"Even better than that, a medical mask below and the cloth mask on top.
"If you are a bus driver for example it makes sense even to think about better protections.”
Public Health Ontario also issued a notice on Wednesday recommending that all healthcare workers treating suspected Covid-19 patients should wear respirator masks, which is a higher grade of mask than they were previously provided with.
Mr Jüni's co-chair Dr Adalsteinn Brown, recently said the “highest quality mask you can get is useful” amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is currently coordinating with researchers around the world to better understand Omicron and how transmissible it is.
According to a review of public health measures published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in October, masking-wearing has been effective in reducing transmission of Covid-19.
The review, which studied nearly 400,000 participants, including some who contracted Covid-19 and others who didn't, showed a 53per cent reduction in Covid-19 incidence from wearing masks, MyLondon reported.
There is also research going on into which varieties of masks are better and there is evidence to suggest N95 and FFP2 masks filter out more 'viral material' than basic surgical masks, provided they fit well.
N95 and FFP2 are similar kinds of respiratory masks, and are 94 and 95 per cent 'effective' respectively.
FFP2 masks are composed of three layers of synthetic non-woven materials, available in different thicknesses, with filtration layers between, making them more effective than surgical or cloth masks.
Professor Susan Michie, a health psychologist at University College London, told the i that FFP2 masks offered better protection for individuals than “flimsy” surgical masks, and recommended mask-wearing in all indoor settings.
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