Non-medical masks not very effective, but use in public transit understandable, RIVM director says
Wearing non-medical mouth masks in public transit can help a little bit in limiting the spread of the coronavirus, RIVM director Jaap van Dissel said in parliament on Thursday. According to him, non-medical masks can prevent 5 to 10 percent of infections. But he understands the government's decision to make such masks compulsory on public transit, where social distancing is often impossible, he said, NOS reports.
Research shows that non medical masks "may contribute somewhat to limiting the spread" of the coronavirus, Van Dissel said to parliament. But most still let 40 to 80 percent of droplets through, depending on the type of fabric they're made of. A lot depends on the quality of the masks, he said. "In some countries they say: put a scarf around your face. I wouldn't do that. Some scarves you can see through, that won't stop the virus," Van Dissel said.
The government will soon publish instructions with which people can make their own masks.
Van Dissel warned that the use of masks may lead to people with symptoms not staying at home, because they think they cannot infect anyone with a mouth mask. This is most definitely not the case, he stressed. If you have any symptoms, stay at home. Masks are also often used incorrectly, resulting in them having no effect, he said.