No scientific proof face masks prevent COVID-19 infection - NICD
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD)'s Professor Cheryl Cohen said that South Africans looking to protect themselves should be aware that there was no scientific proof that over-the-counter masks worked.
JOHANNESBURG - As health officials deal with the increasing numbers of coronavirus infections in South Africa, they've also moved to clear any confusion and concerns around the use of face masks.
So far, 13 cases have been confirmed - the latest being of six infections, all of whom travelled from Europe in recent days.
The Gauteng Health Department also confirmed that one patient was in a critical condition.
Gauten Health MEC Bandile MAsuku said that of the five people who were being treated in the province, one, a 57-year-old man, was in a critical condition with renal disease.
"Remember that one of the things that we have observed with the virus is that it also becomes so much more severe when an individual has an underlying disease."
Meanwhile, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD)'s Professor Cheryl Cohen said that South Africans looking to protect themselves should be aware that there was no scientific proof that over-the-counter masks worked.
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"There is data that suggests that if you're not used to wearing a mask and you have a mask, you'll constantly be touching your face and playing with the mask and that could theoretically increase the risk because your hands are touching contaminated surfaces and you bringing them up to your face and into your nose, which is the way the virus gets to you."
In recent weeks, masks have been sold at most shops, sparking panic and calls for calm.
Cohen said that there were masks specifically recommended for healthcare workers who were more exposed to the virus.