STUDY SHOWS THAT POORLY-FITTING MASKS INCREASE RISK TO HEALTH WORKERS WHO ARE FEMALE OR ASIAN
A new study has found female healthcare workers and medical staff with Asian heritage are more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection because they are less likely to be using face masks that fit them properly.
The analysis published in the journal Anaesthesia looked at studies into the assessment of filtration masks like the N95 and FFP2 models used by medical workers in high-risk situations.
Their review looked at research that showed higher initial fit-pass rates in Caucasians (90 percent) compared with Asians (84 percent) and said particularly low initial fit-pass rates were found in Asian women, with a reported average of just 60 percent.
In the US, the report said authorities use a fit-test panel to assess the suitability of the N95 masks provided to healthcare workers, but they noted that the facial dimensions represented by the panel were based on a group of people in which women and Asians were “underrepresented.”
The authors said that to ensure a mask is not liable to leak, it needs to adequately fit the face shape of the wearer, adding that fit appears to be more important for protection from an airborne viral spread than the filtration capacity of the mask itself.