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Arrival of the Omicron variant: should the medical mask be preferred? | COVID-19 in the Atlantic


The Omicron variant is potentially more contagious than other mutations in the COVID-19 virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday it was not yet clear whether the variant was causing more severe symptoms.

In New Brunswick, wearing a mask is compulsory in public places, for adults and children. This measurement includes fabric masks.

According to the doctor specializing in public health and preventive medicine at the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec, Dr. Chantal Sauvageau, you must wear a quality mask.

The more transmissible it is, the more effective measures should ideally be used. And there, the question of is the face covering sufficient. Basically, for several months now, we have been recommending a mask that we will call quality, says Dr. Sauvageau.

Dr. Sauvageau in a zoom interview.

Dr. Chantal Sauvageau, specialist in public health and preventive medicine at the Institut national de santé publique du Québec.

Photo: TurnedNews.com

The Public Health Agency of Canada specifies that a non-medical mask can be equivalent to a medical mask, if it has at least two layers and a filter and is properly fitted.

Thus, to be effective, the mask must be of good quality and worn correctly. For many, the medical mask is therefore a safe bet.

This is also the opinion of COVID-19 data researcher and professor of mathematics and statistics at the University of New Brunswick, Sanjeev Seahra. Medical masks are generally better if they are fitted well and used correctly. So, medical masks have a more uniform or constant advantage.

However, Dr. Chantal Sauvageau specifies that we must take into account the context in which we find ourselves.

She points out that in a closed space like a classroom, a medical mask would be an informed choice, since people pass several people for several hours.

The difference I see is that if, for example, we walk into a pharmacy or a grocery store for 15 minutes, I think it doesn’t matter what [porte], the impact is less in terms of risk. We meet people that a few seconds, a few minutes, adds Dr. Sauvageau.

Close-up of medical masks in a transparent plastic bag held by two hands covered in blue medical gloves.

Medical masks.

Photo: Reuters / Jon Nazca

According to her, two people who wear quality masks reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 by 90%.

Asked whether New Brunswick will require the wearing of the medical mask due to the arrival of the Omicron variant, Chief Medical Officer of Health Jennifer Russell says the province is monitoring the progress of this new variant very closely.

As we have more information, it may be that yes, we will change our recommendations, but we have to wait until we have more information., she says.

According to a report by Frédéric Cammarano

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