US News: fact check: FFP2 masks in the open air - useful or nonsensical?

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Experten sind sich einig: In Innenräumen ist die Gefahr einer Corona-Infektion wesentlich höher als an der frischen Luft. © Kira Hofmann / dpa-Zentralbild / dpa Experts agree: The risk of corona infection is much higher indoors than in the fresh air. Some people wear a mask outside as a precaution against the coronavirus. What is mandatory in shops and public transport is noticeable in parks and in the forest. Does it still make sense?

When the sun shines and the temperatures climb, people are driven out of the house.

Some people wear their FFP2 masks to protect against the coronavirus outdoors, even when they are out on wide streets or in parks.

In most cases it is not even prescribed there. Does it make sense anyway?

CLAIM: If you really want to protect yourself from Corona, you also have to wear an FFP2 mask outside.

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EVALUATION: Not used.

FACTS: Either simple surgical masks or particle-filtering FFP2 masks must be worn nationwide in public transport and in shops.

The former primarily protect the person opposite, the latter also protect the wearer themselves.

Experts have long agreed: the risk of corona infection is much higher indoors than in the fresh air. Nevertheless, some people there also pull their FFP2 masks over their noses and mouths.

The reason for this is probably the fear of getting into a so-called aerosol cloud. This forms in everyone by exhaling in front of the mouth and can contain coronaviruses in infected people.


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When people talk to each other, these aerosols are practically blown into the face of the person you are talking to. While viruses can collect in unventilated rooms, the exhaled air in the open air is quickly diluted and transported away, as announced by the Society for Aerosol Research (GAeF) in Cologne.

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The former President of the International Society for Aerosols in Medicine, Gerhard Scheuch, considers a brief encounter with people in the fresh air to be safe for .

The amount of viruses that you might get off in passing is not enough for an infection, the advisor of the European Medicines Agency EMA recently told Deutschlandfunk Kultur.

"Jogging, running, hiking, walking, I consider that to be absolutely harmless."

The GAeF also gives the all-clear in its position paper: "In the open air there are almost no infections caused by aerosol particles."

However, caution should be exercised in groups in which no minimum distances are observed and / or masks are not worn - for example during longer conversations.

So far, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) applies to people who stand together with an infected person for longer than 15 minutes without any protection and at a distance of less than 1.5 meters as contact persons with a "higher risk of infection".

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On the other hand, wearing a mouth and nose cover for too long can be quite counterproductive: because the moist exhaled air reduces the effectiveness of the FFP2 masks.

The GAeF warns that the material will lose its electrical charge over time. The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) writes: "A moistened mask should be removed and changed."

According to the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics in Kaiserslautern, there is also the risk of a so-called infection bridge between the wearer and the environment: If the material is moist, even with FFP models, for example, coughing or sneezing could throw droplets from the outer surface of the mask into the environment become.

In principle, FFP2 masks are not intended for reuse from the manufacturer's point of view. According to

experts from the Münster University of Applied Sciences, who have been investigating these models for months, masks that have been moistened with breath can also be reprocessed up to five times - by drying them in the air for at least a week. sources

research project (2020): Investigation and recommendations of the researchers from Münster, accessed on February 22nd, 2021: https://www.fh-muenster.de/gesundheit/forschung/forschungsprojekte/moegitäten-und-grenzen-der-eigenverponslichen -reuse-of-ffp2-masks-in-private-use / index.php

Coming to the first social café in Val-de-Marne, “it's like finding a family” .
© LP / Gérald Moruzzi Raymonde and Bégonia are active during the sewing workshop, organized every Friday afternoon . The doorstep barely crossed, one guesses behind the masks welcoming smiles, very quickly accompanied by gestures to match. It only takes a few seconds between the walls of El Kawa des seigneurs to realize that you will feel good there, the time that you will spend between the walls of this social café open since the beginning of February in the Sarrazins district. , in Créteil.

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