Study: Masks Fail to Filter Virus in Coughing COVID-19 Patients

— About that mask recommendation…

by Molly Walker, Associate Editor, MedPage Today April 6, 2020

A pattern of blue surgical masks on a pink background

A small study from South Korea cast doubt on the ability of surgical or cotton face masks to effectively prevent dissemination of COVID-19 coronavirus from the coughs of infected patients.

Median viral loads did not differ significantly when comparing coughing samples of COVID-19 patients without a mask, with a surgical mask, and with a cloth mask, suggesting these masks were ineffective at filtering SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, reported Sung-Han Kim, MD, of University of Ulsan College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues.

In a letter published in Annals of Internal Medicine, they cited the size of viral particles as a possible reason for masks’ poor ability to filter the virus, despite their effectiveness against other respiratory infections. In particular, prior studies found surgical masks, as well as N95 respirators (Read more)

North Carolina to begin Phase 1 of reopening plan Friday afternoon, will allow certain businesses to reopen

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — Gov. Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina will enter Phase One of the state’s three-part plan to “reignite” its economy, allowing most stores and parks to open but keep businesses like bars and salons closed.
In a news conference Tuesday, Cooper said his new Executive Order will officially enact Phase One as of 5 p.m. on Friday, May 8.

The revised stay-at-home order will allow retail stores that were previously designated as “nonessential”–including clothing, sporting goods and houseware stores–to welcome customers for the first time since March. The businesses, however, must screen their employees for symptoms, ensure capacity never exceeds 50 percent of the building’s total fire capacity, maintain social distancing among shoppers, and conduct routine maintenance and sanitation.
While Tuesday’s announcement might be positive news for many North Carolinians, several key areas of the economy will remain off limits, including bars, movie theaters, bowling alleys, concert halls, salons, barbershops, gyms, and swim clubs.

Restaurants, meanwhile, will still be limited to take out and delivery service only.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, North Carolina’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, encouraged all North Carolinians to wear face coverings in public, though there will be no statutory requirement. Some counties, including Durham County, do require face coverings while in public spaces.
Cohen emphasized mask-wearing as part of the “three Ws”: wear masks, wash hands and wait in line six feet apart.

In addition, North Carolinians still may not gather in groups of 10 or more people, and visitation restrictions will remain in place for nursing homes and correctional facilities.
According to Cooper, Phase One could end and transition into Phase Two as early as May 22, if North Carolina continues to see a sustained leveling or decrease in the number of new cases each day and number of hospitalizations, a decrease in the percentage of total positive tests, and a decrease in the number of emergency room visits for COVID-like symptoms. If not, the order could be extended.
North Carolina’s original Stay-at-Home order
went into effect on March 30, with an original expiration date of April 29. The Governor, however, extended that order through May 8.
Here are more details about the three-phase plan to reopen the state’s economy:
PHASE 1: revised stay-at-home order

  • Retailers and services will need to implement social distancing practices, cleaning and other protocols. Any businesses specifically closed by the executive order–including bars and restaurants for dine-in service, nail and hair salons, gyms and movie theatres–must stay closed.
  • Gatherings must not exceed 10 people
  • Parks can open, as long as people are maintaining social distancing and not gathering in groups of 10 or more people
  • Face coverings are recommended in public
  • Visitor and gathering restrictions remain in place for nursing homes and other congregate living settings
  • Employers are asked to encourage employees to continue teleworking

PHASE 2: about 2-3 weeks after Phase 1

  • Lift stay-at-home order with strong encouragement for vulnerable populations to continue staying at home
  • Allow limited opening of restaurants, bars and other businesses that can follow strict safety protocols, including reduced capacity, increased cleaning measures and social distancing measures
  • Allow gathering at houses of worship and entertainment venues at reduced capacity
  • More people will be allowed at gatherings, but that number has not yet been specified
  • Face coverings will still be recommended in public
  • Public playgrounds will open
  • Restrictions on nursing home and other congregate living setting visitors and gatherings will continue

PHASE 3: about 4-6 weeks after Phase 2

  • Restrictions for vulnerable populations will be loosened, with encouragement to continue practicing social distancing
  • Increased capacity at restaurants, bars, other businesses, houses of worship and entertainment venues will be allowed, but that specific number has not been determined
  • The number of people allowed at gatherings will increase
  • Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and other congregate living settings

See source: 11abc News