Will the respirator help everyone?

In Germany, there is no end in sight to the harsh quarantine, which most likely will not end in January. According to media reports, Chancellor Merkel, together with the prime ministers of the lands, is preparing to once again extend the restrictions on public life until February 15.

Due to the spread of the “British” strain of coronavirus, the German government is going to leave schools and kindergartens closed for now. And also on the agenda is a proposal to extend the experience of Bavaria to the whole of Germany, where, since the beginning of this week, residents have been obliged to wear FFP2 respirators instead of masks in public transport and in shops.

However, so far the idea does not find support in all regions. And the Bavarians themselves are not happy with it. Firstly, many managed to stock up on pharmacy masks or fabric accessories in order to use them more than once. Secondly, FFP2 filters are more expensive. According to the newspaper FAZ, one such respirator of the German brand is sold in pharmacies for 2.5 euros. However, they have already been sold out, and on the Internet the price is 6 euros.

Since they need to be changed every eight hours, each Bavarian will cost more than a hundred euros a month to protect the mouth and nose. True, the Bavarian authorities have already promised to distribute 2.5 million respirators for free to low-income citizens who do not have a steady income, as well as to everyone over 60, and other people at risk. Unexpected difficulties also arose for … owners of a beard. The head of the Aerosol Research Society Christoph Eisbach said that they would have to shave – there was no other way.

Or just a gas mask?

Rospotrebnadzor notes that the protection measures that have already been introduced are quite enough.

“The decree of the Chief State Sanitary Doctor of Russia dated October 16 last year regulates the mandatory wearing of masks in public places,” the presenter recalls expert of the Center for Molecular Diagnostics CMD Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor Mikhail Lebedev.

As the allergist-immunologist Vladimir Bolibok told “RG”, respirators are mainly used by doctors. “In medicine, there are two situations when it is necessary to use personal protective equipment. The first situation is when we create a sterile area around the patient. For example, in the operating room, dressing room, in examination rooms. Therefore, medical masks are used, since the mask is designed specifically to prevent entry infections from humans into the environment, “Bolibok explained. According to him, if a person with the virus wears a mask, then the likelihood that he will infect others is reduced by 25 times. And if a healthy person wears a mask, but people who emit viruses walk around him, then the probability of infection is reduced by 10 times. In other words, masks should first of all be worn by those already sick.

Speaking about respirators, Bolibok stressed that they are intended primarily to protect a person from viruses and infections. “Respirators are used in an aggressive environment. It’s not for nothing that doctors from the” red zone “wear enhanced personal protective equipment, including respirators,” he adds. “After all, they are in wards with patients who emit an aerosol containing coronavirus.” Bolibok acknowledges that respirators have a higher degree of protection than masks. But if the respirator is worn by a carrier of the virus, then through the valve he can exhale its particles into the environment.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Russian industry today can produce more than 30 thousand respirators every day. In retail, they cost from 130 to 2000 rubles and more, depending on the modification, the number of layers and the filter, as well as disposable or reusable. There are three levels of protection for respirators. They indicate the most important characteristics of the product: the limiting concentration of hazardous particles at which it is effective; the degree of air purification; the size of the dust or aerosol particles that the respirator can protect against; time limit for use. In pharmacies there are respirators of Chinese, Russian production and with degrees of protection FFP-2 (medium) and FFP-3 (maximum, then there are gas masks).