Pandemic Puts ’Outdated’ Infection Control Practices Under Scrutiny | Health News | US News
Dr. David Henderson, of the U.S. National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., cowrote an editorial published with the review.
He called it a “great paper” that highlights the point that there is no strict dichotomy between droplet and aerosol.
As for the practical implications, that’s more complicated, according to Henderson. He said that surgical masks, along with eye protection, have worked “extraordinarily well” in preventing #COVID-19 outbreaks among U.S. health care workers.
What’s more, Henderson noted, other respiratory infections that can spread in hospitals have basically disappeared.
It’s not clear that N95 masks would have significant added value, according to Henderson. And they would be challenging to wear. “Over an eight-hour shift, you could feel like you’re suffocating,” he noted.
That’s not to say there’s no room for improvement. New masking options that offer better filtration, along with wearability, would be welcome, according to Henderson.
At this point, he said a key lesson he’s learned from the pandemic is that “source-control masking” — masking the infected person — “really works.”
The editorial suggests a “reasonable” approach going forward, once seasonal respiratory infections return to their normal patterns: Have “universal” masking in hospitals each fall through spring, when viruses like the flu are highly active.