The High Council for Public Health has recommended avoiding the wearing of certain fabric masks in the face of the British variant of Covid-19. Olivier Véran criticized him “the artisanal mask that we make at home”.
Faced with the circulation in France of the British variant of the coronavirus, which is more contagious, the High Council of Public Health (HCSP) recommends this January 18, 2021 to avoid certain masks made of less filtering fabric. “On the occasion of the penetration into Europe of certain new variants […] more transmissible, while the modes of transmission have not changed, the question arises of the category of masks that can be offered in the general population ”, declared on BFM TV Didier Lepelletier, co-chair of the Covid working group -19 of the HCSP.
He said that the working group of this advisory body had drawn up its new recommendations this weekend to transmit them to the Ministry of Health. The medical officer of health and public health described as “good thing in this period” the fact of “wearing a reusable cloth mask of category 1, rather than masks of category 2 which filter a little less well, even of the manufactured masks in a traditional way where there is no control over their performance which is achieved ”.
Olivier Véran criticizes “the artisanal mask that we make at home”
According to the standards developed by Afnor, category 1 masks filter 90% of particles, while category 2 masks block only 70%. “Category 1 fabric masks, supplied by manufacturers, validated by the General Directorate of the Armed Forces, in terms of performance, are as effective as surgical masks”, assured Professor Lepelletier.
“All masks whose filtering power is greater than 90% remain valid”, for his part explained on France Inter Olivier Véran on January 19, according to whom it concerns “almost all industrial masks for the general public”.
This is “what we call the general public level 1 masks,” he said. “On the other hand, the handcrafted mask that we make at home with the best intentions in the world, respecting Afnor standards, […] does not necessarily offer all the necessary guarantees ”for the High Council of Public Health, he continued.
Didier Lepelletier judges that the use of FFP2 masks, filtering at least 94% of aerosols, in the general population “is not necessarily a good thing because we will not be able to control” that they are “well worn” and “adapted to the morphology of the face”.
The HCSP working group also insists in its recommendations on ensuring a safety distance of two meters and not one meter between each person. “On the occasion of the December notices on shops or the end of year celebrations, we actually went to these two meters. The penetration of new variants […] is perhaps the opportunity to formalize these two meters, ”he said.
The Ministry of Health can choose whether or not to follow the advice of the HCSP. “These are opinions which are scientific and which are intended to inform health policy decision-making”, underlined Professor Lepelletier.