Dr Mallia Azzopardi, the head of the Infectious diseases department at Mater Dei Hospital emphasises that wearing a mask can save one’s life. He said that original research had shown that mask wearing was advantageous to other persons but current research shows that the mask is beneficial also to the wearers and can save their lives.
The local expert was answering questions by Fr Joe Borg during an edition of Newsbook Q&A on Friday.
Quarter of a million lives can be saved in Europe
The interviewer said that according to media reports if all Europeans regularly wear a mask the number of deaths in Europe can go down by a quarter of a million.
Mallia Azzopardi said that this is totally correct. He added that one is infected by droplets that become airborne through sneezing, coughing or while speaking. A mask helps prevent these droplets leaving the body, thus protecting people who wear it.
He explained that in Wuhan, China they succeeding in controlling the pandemic because the wearing of masks was mandated immediately the pandemic started.
It is important, said Mallia Azzopardi that each mask would have more than one layer so that it becomes more difficult for the virus to leave one’s body. He admitted that some masks, for example those they wear in hospital, can be uncomfortable if worn for a long period of time but given that masks save lives one should be able to bear this lack of comfort.
Less people will die in Malta if people wear masks
Earlier this week the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) warned that deaths in Malta can increase to six daily but added that this increase can be avoided if people wear masks regularly. The Institute said that if everyone wears the masks properly, by mid-December the number of deaths will be less than three every day.
IHME is an independent population health research centre at UW Medicine, part of the University of Washington, in Seattle.
In mid-October Prime Minister Abela announced that the wearing of masks in public places became obligatory in Malta.
- Masks are obligatory everywhere, even outside. Children of ages 3 and under should not wear masks as it may backfire
- Exceptions to obligatory mask-wearing include exercising, public speaking, and when eating at a table
- Temporary removal of masks is allowed for identification purposes and lip-reading purposes
How to wear a mask
In this video Dr Tanya Melillo, Consultant in Public Health shows how a mask should be worn so that it effectively helps save lives.