The old fart’s top news story today is about the U.S. Surgeon General telling people to stop buying face masks believing that they prevent contracting the Coronavirus. “Seriously people — STOP BUYING MASKS!” the surgeon general, Jerome M. Adams, said in a tweet. ““They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus…” However, the very next line of the tweet said, “… but if health care providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”
Face Masks Not Effective
Now at first I thought ‘Now wait a minute here, Jerome, if they don’t do anything to stop the spread of the disease, why again the concern that doctors and nurses may not have them?’ Then it occurred to me that health care providers can be exposed to all kinds of very nasty microscopic murderers, not just the Coronavirus. So when people foolishly stockpile face masks, creating a shortage, it prevents health care providers from protecting themselves against other threats, so they could be well be putting themselves and others at even worse risk.
Officials Implore The Public To Stop Buying Masks
And the surgeon general is not the only one crying out for sanity. Globally health officials have been imploring the public to stop buying masks if they’re healthy or not caring for someone who’s ill. Medical professionals need a large supply of the masks because they are in direct contact with multiple infected patients, and so must change their masks repeatedly. Ditto for dentists. Executive director of the health emergency program at the World Health Organization, Dr. Michael J. Ryan, stated, “Our primary concern is to ensure that our front line health workers are protected and that they have the equipment they need to do their jobs.” But I think they haven’t been calling for something that they should be calling for.
There’s A Missing Piece To The Puzzle
And that there’s a missing piece to the puzzle that this old fart couldn’t quite seem to find. You see, I’ve had myself a bit of medical training, and as a result know myself about bit about this here and that there. For instance, I know for a fact that darn near every hospital (and many dentists offices) has these marvelous little life saving machines called ‘autoclaves’. I say that because of all the appliances in a medical facility, none saves more lives by preventing the spread of disease, yet most folks never hear about them. Autoclaves are sterilization machines used to insure the cleanliness of medical tools and devices such as surgeon’s clamps and scalpels.
Reusable Surgical Quality Face Masks Exist
There also exists reuseble surgical quality face masks that can be laundered and autoclaved (sterilized – some with a lifetime of more than 50 cycles). Now to be fair, reusable surgical face masks do have less filtration and protection efficiency than high end disposable ones, and each washing cycle decreases protection incrementally. However, this makes reusable face masks very viable for less risky uses that still require a face mask, reducing demand for the preferred paper ones so that they’re available in high risk situations. Henceforth and therefore, this cranky old fart wants to know why in the heck every darn hospital (and dentist office) doesn’t keep a supply of reusable surgical quality face masks on hand for situations just like this?
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