Tag Archives: Mask

Prince Charles ‘will only wear a mask when government advice tells him he must’

Prince Charles has no plans to wear a mask unless the government rules insist he does, a royal source has reportedly said.

The Prince of Wales is likely to throw his face mask away for a fundraising event at Exeter Cathedral on Sunday, in tune with the government’s Freedom Day.

Similarly, this is the first event on his agenda that has been announced to the public in advance for several months, with the aim to avoid crowds during the pandemic.

A Daily Mail royal insider said: “This will be the first time in 18 months that we are seeing a return to normality. We’ll be looking forwards, not backwards.

“This is the first time the prince has been to a location inside and won’t be wearing a mask because it’s a large area where people will be social distancing and it will be the first day of the new rules.

“When the rules state that a mask should be worn, then the Prince will wear one but not otherwise.”

The prince is reportedly only going to wear a mask when the government’s rules dictate that he must
(Image: Getty Images)

The Duchess of Cornwall is also thought to be glad about Freedom Day.

At a visit to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, she told a student she “can’t wait to get rid of this (mask).”

The government has made July 19 the day when social distancing rules and mask wearing will no longer be required..

While initially put forward as a complete new start with the country having to learn to live with Covid, the government appears to have since taken a more cautious tone and reinforced it will impose a new lockdown if the third wave demands it.

Concern is growing over the rising infection rate, especially the Delta variant, with Covid cases having risen by 71 percent since last Saturday.

It comes also as the Health Secretary Sajid Javid has tested positive for Covid on Saturday having had his two jabs.

The government is now trying to work out who has been in close contact with him and it could lead to several leading figures having to self-isolate.

On Friday Javid was seen leaving Downing Street which could even include the Boris Johnson in the list of those needing to isolate.

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This post originally posted here United Kingdom News

L.A. County indoor mask rules set to take effect as coronavirus cases keep rising

Los Angeles County’s jump in coronavirus cases continued Saturday as a new rule requiring masks in public indoor settings was set to take effect, a restriction officials hope will slow the spread of the virus among the unvaccinated.

The county is by far the biggest jurisdiction in the nation to require masks again. But with COVID-19 cases rising across the nation largely because of the highly infectious Delta variant, officials elsewhere will be watching to see if the effort works.

People who have received vaccinations are extraordinarily protected from the coronavirus, including the Delta variant. But officials are asking them to wear masks indoors as a way of also forcing unvaccinated people — who are at risk — to do the same. About 52% of L.A. County residents are fully vaccinated, and roughly 60% have gotten at least one shot. But given the region’s enormous population, that still leaves millions vulnerable.

“Given the increased intermingling among unmasked people where vaccination status is unknown, the millions of people still unvaccinated, and the increased circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant, we are seeing a rapid increase in COVID-19 infection,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.

Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, a medical epidemiologist and expert on infectious disease with the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, said he’s not worried about the pandemic approaching the same level of devastation seen half a year ago, but is “concerned about the trajectory and the speed of the doubling of new cases.”

“Hopefully, this will be the wakeup call for those who are still vaccine hesitant to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated,” he said.

Under L.A. County’s order, masks will be required to be worn in all indoor public settings, such as theaters, stores, gyms, offices and workplaces, and in restaurants when not eating and drinking. Those exempted include children younger than 2. Indoor dining is still allowed, but patrons are asked to wear masks when they are not eating or drinking.

Other California counties have urged people to wear masks indoors, but none have followed L.A. and mandated the practice.

Los Angeles County on Saturday confirmed 1,827 new coronavirus cases — the second-largest daily total the region has seen in months — and an uptick that public health officials are saying is evidence of an alarming trend of increased community spread.

Saturday’s case count was four times higher than the 457 daily infections reported on July 4 and eight times higher than the 210 cases the county had on June 15 when California fully reopened, health officials said. The county also reported 11 new related deaths.

Last month, the county was seeing as few as 161 new coronavirus cases a day — the lowest rates since the first few weeks of the pandemic. But daily cases have been climbing increasingly rapidly since California fully reopened on June 15.

On July 9, the county began a streak of consecutive days with at least 1,000 cases a day reported — the numbers hit 1,059 on Monday, 1,103 on Tuesday, 1,315 on Wednesday, 1,537 on Thursday and 1,902 on Friday.

Hospitalizations are also worsening. On Friday, there were 507 people with COVID-19 in L.A. County hospitals, the highest number since April 14, and more than double the number over the last month. On a per capita basis, that means there are now more than 5 hospitalizations for every 100,000 residents in the county — a figure some experts say could be a reasonable threshold to reimplement masking policies indoors.

National officials and experts have begun to endorse the county’s move, given the sharp rise in cases, to require masks by everyone indoors, regardless of vaccination status, a mandate set to take effect Saturday at 11:59 p.m.

“Under certain circumstances, when you have a high level of dynamics of infection, be that in Los Angeles or wherever, the local authorities do have the discretion of going that extra mile, of going the extra step it takes to make sure that the spread of this virus is really contained, and they do that by saying that everyone should wear a mask,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert, said Friday on NBC’s “Nightly News.”

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, told ABC’s “World News Tonight” that he thought L.A. County was taking appropriate action, as were other California counties in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sacramento area that are recommending mask use by everyone indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

“These counties are acting prudently, because infection numbers are rising so quickly,” Jha said. “We can’t tell who’s vaccinated and who’s not. And we do know that there are breakthrough infections even for vaccinated people. So it makes sense in places with high rising infection numbers to put the mask mandates back in.”

The vaccines are extraordinarily protective against severe disease and death. Between Dec. 7 and June 7, unvaccinated people in L.A. County accounted for 99.6% of its coronavirus cases, 98.7% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 99.8% of deaths.

But rising community transmission levels can also raise the risk of “breakthrough infections,” coronavirus infections of vaccinated people. It’s not particularly likely, but it can happen — and is more likely to happen if vaccinated people are close to contagious, unvaccinated people.

“It is a bummer to get a breakthrough infection,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an UC San Francisco expert in infectious disease. Those who get them have to notify their close contacts; they have to stay home from work — “it’s a disruption to life.”

That’s why Chin-Hong said he thinks it’s a good idea for even vaccinated people to “just put on your mask if if you’re in a crowded indoor setting with a bunch of people you don’t know.”

The good news is that vaccinated people are far more protected against severe illness and death. Nationally, unvaccinated people make up 97% of patients in the hospital now for COVID-19, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

L.A. County’s massive public hospital system has not had to hospitalize anyone for COVID-19 who has been fully vaccinated, Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly said.

Officials hope more masking will help contain the hypercontagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is easily spread and has been blamed for increased infections across the country.

“The alarming increases in cases, positivity rates and the increase in hospitalizations signals immediate action must be taken to slow the spread of COVID-19. Otherwise, we may quickly see more devastating illness and death among the millions of residents,” said L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis.

Health officials continue to urge everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated to get their shots immediately. The risk of increased spread is highest among unvaccinated individuals. Cases are rising the most in adults age 18 to 49, county data show.

Officials warn that the more COVID-19 spreads, the more opportunities it has to mutate and potentially create another easily transmittable and dangerous variant.

“The urgency to get more people vaccinated remains high with this level of spread,” Davis said. “For everyone [who is] eligible and still waiting to get vaccinated, the time do it is now.”

While other counties in Southern California are also seeing an uptick in cases, L.A. County is the first to broaden mask requirements.

In Orange County, public health officials have encouraged unvaccinated residents to avoid large crowds and poorly ventilated spaces and continue masking in indoor public areas. However, there are no plans there to implement a new mask mandate.

“With the recent reopening of the state’s economy, we had expected to see an increase in our COVID-19 cases and positivity rates,” said Dr. Clayton Chau, Orange County’s health officer. “This means we need to continue being proactive about protecting our loved ones and neighbors and taking the necessary steps to help reduce the risk of infection throughout our county.”

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This post originally posted here Coronavirus Search Results

Tesco, Aldi, John Lewis & Primark new face mask rules from July 19 – ‘please wear one’

The legal requirement to wear face masks will be dropped in England on Monday, a year after they were introduced to help combat the spread of the virus. Although experts still recommend wearing a face covering in busy or crowded settings, businesses can set their own rules.


Supermarket giant Tesco has said that social distancing as well as other safety measures will remain in place across its stores.

It will continue to limit customer capacity in stores at busy times as well as keep protective screens at checkouts as well as hand sanitiser stations.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have focused on ensuring everyone can get the food they need in a safe environment.

“Having listened to our customers and colleagues, we will continue to have safety measures in place in our stores; these include limiting the number of people in store at any time, protective screens at every checkout, hand sanitiser stations and regular cleaning.

“We’re asking our customers and colleagues to be on the safe side, and so from July 19 we’ll be encouraging our colleagues to wear face coverings whilst they work and encouraging our customers to do the same when they shop with us.”

READ MORE: Lidl announces new ‘ambitious’ healthy eating commitment to customers

John Lewis & Waitrose

Staff and customers at Waitrose and John Lewis have also been urged to continue wearing masks but bosses say it will be ultimately up to individual judgement.

Perspex screens and hand sanitising stations will remain in place throughout stores.

A spokesperson for the John Lewis Partnership, which also manages Waitrose, said: “In line with Government guidance, we will recommend that our customers and partners in England continue to wear a face covering unless exempt, from July 19.

“The decision over whether to do so or not when in our shops, will be for each individual to take, based on their own judgement.

“Across all our stores we will be retaining Perspex screens and hand sanitising stations.

“We will also maintain all of the hand hygiene and store cleaning disciplines which have served us well since the start of the pandemic.”

Taking to Twitter to share their thoughts not the easing of lockdown restrictions, users across the country have expressed opinions about the relaxation of face mask wearing.

One person wrote: “It’s ridiculous, we’re seeing thousands of new cases each day, just please wear one.”

Another said: “It’s such a small inconvenience that can help stop the spread.”

A third tweeted: “I’m glad it’s now a personal choice, but I will wear one and I hope others will too.”

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Life and Style
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Jet2, easyJet, TUI, Ryanair and British Airways face mask rules from Monday

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed face mask rules will be relaxed on Monday, July 19, however, has encouraged people to continue to wear them “in crowded and enclosed spaces”. The Government is also allowing travel operators and transport hubs to make their own rules surrounding the use of face masks.

Already, airports including Heathrow and Gatwick have confirmed the use of face masks will remain mandatory inside buildings for passengers and crew.

What will the rules be for those travelling with Jet2, easyJet, TUI, Ryanair and British Airways from July 19?


Jet2 will continue to require customers to wear face masks following July 19.

A spokesperson for the airline told Express.co.uk: “The health and safety of our customers and colleagues will always be our number one priority.

“We will continue to follow the current CAA guidelines and regulations.”

According to Jet2’s website: “You can’t board any of our flights unless you’re wearing a face mask.

“While travelling, you can only take off your mask when we ask to ID you at the boarding gate and to eat and drink.

“But remember, you must put it straight back on when you’ve finished.”

The Leeds-based carrier says facemasks must be worn in the airport, on flights and transfers, and possibly in various parts of holiday accommodation and resorts.

Passengers who are exempt from wearing a face mask must let the airline know in advance of their flight.

“We’ll ask you for specific medical evidence to confirm this, as we don’t accept downloaded exemption cards or lanyards as proof of exemption,” it explains.

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easyJet is set to continue its current face mask rules following July 19.

In a statement following the announcement, the orange-tipped carrier said: “At present, there are no changes to easyJet’s onboard mask policy and we will continue to keep this under review.

“We continue to be guided by our in-house medical adviser and a number of key industry governing bodies that airlines follow including the WHO (World Health Organization), Icao (International Civil Aviation Organisation), Easa (European Union Aviation Safety Agency), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and public health authorities across Europe, and at present their guidance around the wearing of masks onboard remains unchanged.”

According to the easyJet website: “Face masks must be worn at the airport, at the gate when boarding the aircraft, and throughout the flight.

“Passengers not wearing a mask will not be able to board the aircraft.”

Children over the age of six will also be required to wear a mask.

Cabin crew will also wear face masks.

“If you have an exemption from wearing a mask, you must bring a signed doctor’s letter or medical certificate (printed or digital format) with you to the airport when you travel with us, that clearly states that you’re exempt from wearing a face mask,” adds easyJet.

“This must have your name on it, the details of the medical practice and also, be dated within the last 12 months.

“We do not accept downloadable exemption certificates or lanyards.”

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TUI will continue to make face masks mandatory for passengers and crew.

An airline spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “Face masks will still be a condition of carriage on TUI Airways post July 19.”

According to the TUI website: “Everyone over six years old needs to wear a face mask on our flights, including while sleeping, unless you’re exempt due to a medical condition.

“You’ll need to wear a mask even if you’ve had your two vaccinations.

“Your face mask must cover your nose, mouth and chin – you can wear a face shield, but you’ll need to wear a face mask, too.”

Passengers are required to change their face mask every four hours.

It adds: “If you can’t wear a mask for health reasons, you can download a government exemption card, or you may wish to wear a face shield instead.”

British Airways

British Airways continues to ask customers to wear a face mask or covering following July 19.

The airline states: “We require you to wear your face mask at all times, as a guide one mask lasts four hours so please bring enough for your journey.”

British Airways also reminds customers they must wear a face mask “at all times in the airport.”

Express.co.uk has contacted British Airways for further comment on their face mask policy from July 19.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express

Clarence Thomas rejected an emergency request to block the mask requirement despite the Court’s willingness to disrupt other Covid-related regulations

The request was brought by a man seeking to leave Florida by airplane, who said his Generalized Anxiety Disorder prevented him from wearing a mask.
While the Supreme Court has been willing to disrupt other coronavirus-related regulations, particularly as they affected religious gatherings, there was no apparent appetite for disturbing the public transportation mask mandate.
The request was filed with the Supreme Court on Monday by Lucas Wall, who was unable to board a flight last month from Orlando because of his unwillingness to wear a mask. His court filings said that, due to the mask mandate, he has since been “stranded” at his mother’s residence in The Villages, a retirement community in central Florida. He said that that the federal mask requirement for travel would prevent him from taking a flight he planned to Germany later this week.
He alleged the policy, which was implemented by the Biden administration soon after the President’s inauguration, was unconstitutional and that it violated various regulatory authorities.
Thomas considered the request as he oversees the appeals circuit that includes Florida, where Wall’s initial lawsuit was filed. Thomas denied the request for a Supreme Court intervention without any additional explanation.

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This post originally posted here CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero

‘Get off my TV screen’ Furious radio host rages at Dr Hilary in rant over mask ‘hypocrisy’

TalkRADIO host Patrick Christys has branded Dr Hilary Jones a “rampant hypocrite” after he was spotted not wearing a mask while watching the tennis at Wimbledon this week. Dr Hilary, who regularly appears on ITV’s Good Morning Britain and This Morning, also faced a backlash from viewers after footage of his appearance emerged. Mr Christys proclaimed that it was “one rule for them, and another rule for us” during his furious radio rant on coronavirus restrictions. 

Mr Christys said: “There is a TV doctor, Dr Hilary Jones.

“He is a suave man, he is always on your telly on Good Morning Britain or This Morning, saying we all need to wear masks in public.

“He says everyone has a deep-seated public duty to abide by the rules. Then he goes to Wimbledon, sits in the royal box and doesn’t have a mask on in a crowd full of people.

“You rampant hypocrite! Get off my TV screen. How dare you sit there in Wimbledon without a mask on, when you tell us we need to wear masks in public.”

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He continued: “You’re responsible for the fear and the panic.

“You’re responsible for the fact that 70 percent of people still want restrictions to continue after coronavirus. Where do you get off?

“We should book him on the show because I’d love to have it out with him.

“It has really wound me up. It’s one rule for them, one rule for us. They are Project Fear.

“How can you say that was a Covid-secure event? Absolute lunacy, the hypocrisy of these people.”

He added: “They’re being cautious, they’re being sensible, and it’s a big, vast open-air arena.

“So these are mitigating circumstances so, you know, I obeyed the rules.

“Of course I got the negative feedback like everybody else, but I abided by the rules.

“If we live with Covid we have to use these mitigating behaviours.”

Earlier this week, an Ipsos Mori poll for the Economist found that a sizeable minority of people in the UK would be happy for Covid restrictions, including a 10pm curfew, to be in place indefinitely.

Around 70 percent of those polled said they thought the rules on wearing masks in shops and public transport should remain in place for at least another month.

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Standard Medical Mask Can Protect Wearer from Aerosols

A standard medical face mask is more effective at preventing the wearer from inhaling aerosols without causing substantial breathing resistance than various cloth, medical, or respirator masks, new research shows.

“Medical face masks with good filtration efficacies can provide even better protective effects than KN95 respirators,” write Christian Sterr, MD, from Philipps University of Marburg in Germany, and his colleagues. “FFP2 respirators, on the other hand, could be useful in high-risk situations but require greater breathing effort and therefore physical stress for users.”

Extensive evidence has shown that face masks are an excellent form of source control, preventing infectious people from spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus into the environment. But evidence has been less clear about how well masks protect the wearer from inhaling particles containing the virus.

The researchers conducted three experiments to test 32 different face masks. The findings were presented at the 31st European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases and published online in PLOS One.

First they tested pressure drop, which “relates to how easily air can pass through the material,” said Chris Cappa, PhD, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Davis, who was not involved with the study.

“Higher pressure drops mean that there is greater resistance to the air passing through. A higher pressure drop will typically mean breathing through the material will be slightly more challenging compared to a low pressure drop. There is no relationship between pressure drop and the mask effectiveness,” he told Medscape Medical News.

Pressure drop was lowest with type II medical face masks, the typical three-ply surgical masks designed to stop large particles expelled by the wearer from entering the environment, was highest with respirators, including KN95 and FFP2 masks, and varied with the different cloth masks tested.

Next the researchers compared filtration efficacy, which “refers to how well the material removes particles from the air that passes through the mask material,” Cappa explained. They did this by placing each mask over the opening to an air collector that measured how many particles got through. “A mask that has 100% filtration efficacy will remove all particles from the air that passes through it and 0% means that no particles are removed.”

Cloth masks had the lowest filtration efficacy, at 28%. Certified face masks that met European Standards (EN) had a relatively high efficacy, at 70%; for uncertified face masks, filtration efficacy was 63%. As expected, KN95 and FFP2 masks had the highest filtration efficacy, at 94% and 98%, respectively.

Most of the particles that we exhale will travel right around a face shield.

Finally, the researchers tested as-worn filtration efficacies. They placed each mask on a dummy head with an artificial airway that collected airborne particles. They then pumped a mixture of aerosol particles — ranging in size from 0.3 to 2.0 µm — and particle-free pressurized air into the air-proof acrylic chamber in which the head was placed.

In this experiment, cloth masks and noncertified face masks were least effective, filtering less than 20% of aerosols. Interestingly, the cloth face mask with the highest filtration on its own (84%) had the lowest filtration efficacy (9%), apparently because of its very high pressure drop (breathing resistance). When more effort is required to breathe through a mask, more air can bypass the filtration system.

Type II medical face masks, however, filtered 47% of aerosols, KN95 masks filtered 41%, and FFP2 masks filtered 65%. Face shields did not prevent the inhalation of any aerosols.

“We know that face shields will only be effective in stopping very large droplets, essentially visible spittle,” Cappa explained. “Most of the particles that we exhale will travel right around a face shield.”

The “optimal mask effect is a combination of high filter performance and low filter resistance,” which applies to most of the FFP2 and medical type II face masks tested, Sterr and his colleagues write. “The type II medical masks in our random sample showed very good as-worn filtration performances with a low additional work of breathing at the same time.”

Although this study showed how well different masks filtered out particles, it could not assess how well different masks prevent actual infection.

“Like any virus, SARS-CoV-2 can only infect people as long as it is viable,” the researchers write. “Moreover, a certain number of viable virus particles need to be inhaled to trigger an infection. Thus, the assessed filtration efficacy may differ from the provided protection rate against SARS-CoV-2.”

In addition, particles containing the virus could dry out while going through the mask and become less infectious. “Even a small reduction in inhaled particles might prevent infection or at least lead to a less severe infection,” they note.

In fact, filtration efficacy does not necessarily indicate how well the mask filters out particles while being worn. “This might be due to the combined effects of mask fit and pressure drop of the mask material and therefore tendency for mask leakage,” the team writes. “High pressure drop results in higher breathing resistance and therefore supports leakage, especially if combined to a loosely fitting mask.”

If the mask does not fit well, then it will only provide moderate protection for the wearer.

These findings are “in line with what we already knew,” Cappa explained. “Even if the mask material filters out nearly all particles that pass through it, as is the case for high-efficiency masks such as N95 and FFP2, if the mask does not fit well, then it will only provide moderate protection for the wearer.”

Although the findings reaffirm the different levels of filtration provided by various cloth masks, they do not “provide any guidance on which types of cloth masks are better or worse,” he said. But they do show that “medical face masks will generally provide more protection to the wearer.”

It’s not surprising that face shields offer little protection from aerosols, Cappa said, but they can provide added protection when worn with a mask.

“A face shield could prevent large droplets that might shoot out when a person coughs or sneezes from depositing on a person’s eye,” he pointed out. And it can help “redirect the plume of particles that an infected person exhales, which could be useful in close quarters. However, even then those particles will keep moving around and could be inhaled. A mask can really help to decrease the amount inhaled.”

The study did not use external funding. The authors and Cappa have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

PLoS One. 2021;16:e0248099. Full text

31st European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID): Abstract 1760.

Tara Haelle is an independent science/health journalist based in Dallas.

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Author: Tara Haelle
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