Germany approved new rules to require medical grade masks on public transportation. Lufthansa has followed suit, requiring masks but banning cloth masks from meeting that requirement effective February 1. France and Austria may add similar rules.
Passengers will need to wear a medical-grade surgical mask as a minimum and anyone caught wearing a fabric face covering will be denied boarding. Ideally, passengers should seek to wear an FFP2 [or Chinese KN95] mask or even an N95 certified mask according to Lufthansa.
Cloth masks don’t do much to protect the wearer. They were considered acceptable as source control, limiting respiratory droplets that might be emitted. But with the Covid-19 pandemic far from under control, and with the virus mutating in ways that are concerning not just for rate of spread but also for treatment (whether monoclonal antibodies developed from earlier variants will work) and vaccination (whether enough variation in the spike protein will escape protection) these countries are getting serious.
After airlines required masks they had to further define what a mask was. There’s no more masks like the one that a Las Vegas Councilwoman and member of the Convention and Visitors Authority board promotes.
I don’t always take a photo w a mask on but when I do, it’s my #N69Mask❤️ Thanks for lovely messages on my N69Mask-it does come w protection (filter) we removed it for photo to show detail-Lots of comments on N69Mask as panties-To those: Don’t get your panties in such a wad. 💋 pic.twitter.com/KMHVMWlKvQ
— Councilwoman Michele Fiore (@VoteFiore) July 10, 2020
It’s become even more important to reduce the spread of infection now that we’ve seen the SARS-CoV-2 virus mutating in ways that make it more transmissible (as viruses too, but the this one had been mutating slowly). That’s because the more people hosting the virus, the more virus in the community, the greater the chance for further mutation.
If you travel, you find yourself in airports and on jet bridges, if you’re in indoor congregant settings with groups of other people then you want to use an N95 mask. These filter out at least 95% of particulates. They were tough to get early in the pandemic but that’s no longer the case.
Some readers will say ‘but in hospital settings these are properly fitted’ and that’s true. People are taught to use them as well. Get an N95 mask that comes as close to a proper fit as possible, I like this sample pack of different shapes and sizes. That’s not the same thing but it’s a lot better than wearing a cloth mask! And learn to wear it properly, there are plenty of videos on Youtube.
I’ve written up deals with N95 masks as cheap as $1.25 apiece, that deal is gone but if you’re buying a plane ticket then spend a little more for good masks which are no longer in short supply (especially non-surgical designs). Here’s a bunch make sure you buy one without a valve, that won’t be acceptable for travel because it doesn’t protect other people from you.