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Medical Face Masks

CDC Says Vaccinated Individuals Can Go Without Masks Indoors And Outdoors 

The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this Thursday that people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 do not need to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors, except under certain circumstances. 

“If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”

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Dr. Rochelle Walensky called this an “exciting and powerful moment. The science supports the updated CDC guidance that anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing.” She cited three studies — one from Israel and two from the United States — that show vaccines work.

The Israeli study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and showed “the vaccine was 97% effective against symptomatic Covid-19 and 86% effective against asymptomatic infection in over 5,000 healthcare workers tested.” 

In the more than 117 fully vaccinated Americans there have been a small number of reports of breakthrough infections, however, Walensky noted that “the resulting infections are more likely to have a lower viral load, may be shorter in duration, and likely less risk of transmission to others.” 

People who are immunocompromised should still proceed with caution, and all mask mandates are still in effect for all forms of public transportation, including air travel. 

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“The past year has shown us that this virus can be unpredictable, so if things get worse, there is always a chance we may need to make a change to these recommendations. People who develop Covid-19 symptoms, even those who are vaccinated, should put their mask back on and get tested, Walensky said.

She explained how: “the science is clear, too, for unvaccinated people. You remain at risk of mild or severe illness, of death, or spreading the disease to others. You should still mask and you should get vaccinated right away. But once someone is fully vaccinated — two weeks after the final dose — you can shed your mask,” she said.

Some people may choose to continue wearing masks even if they are fully vaccinated, and that’s OK, federal Covid-19 response leaders said Thursday.

“People have to make their own personal choice,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during the White House Covid-19 briefing.

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with an individual who has a certain level of risk aversion, as we know the risk is extremely low of getting infected whether you’re indoors or outdoors. But there are those people who don’t want to take that bit of a risk and there’s nothing wrong with that and they shouldn’t be criticized.”

USA Covid-19 Virus

Health Experts Claim Covid-19 In The US Is A ‘Humanitarian Disaster’ 

“This is a humanitarian disaster — probably one of the worst stories I’ve covered in my career,” said CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said Thursday. Gupta’s comments are intense, yet unsurprising and universally accepted among health experts and scientists all throughout the country who have watched as over 10 million Americans suffered from this virus; over 280,000 Americans have now died from the coronavirus. 

Workers from Doctors Without Borders have been called upon to help the US get the pandemic under control. “I mean, this is an organization that typically covers true disasters and medical crises all over the world, and when they sort of look at a map right now and say, ‘Where do we need to be?’ they pointed to the United States. They were in nursing homes in Detroit. They went to Missouri. They’re in these different places trying to offer their services. And still, the numbers are what they are,” Gupta explained

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On Wednesday the US reported 1,893 Covid-19-related deaths according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Within the next two months it’s projected that 110,000 more Americans will die from the virus based on the current rate in which it’s spreading/impacting certain communities throughout the nation. 

The US has also topped 100,000 new daily infections for at least nine days in a row now. The current White House coronavirus task force warned of “accelerating community spread across the top half of the country,” in state reports distributed this week. The task force went on to state that the lack of response to these constant increases has led to the “most diffuse spread experienced to date,” comments which obviously caused them to receive a lot of backlash, considering they’re the ones who should be working on minimizing this spread, not just pointing out when it’s getting to a “humanitarian disaster” level. 

Third-party researchers are projecting conditions to really worsen in the West Coast, Northeast, and mid-Atlantic states over the next couple of months, as these have been the areas that have seen some of the biggest outbreaks within the past nine months. According to data from Hopkins in every single Midwestern state currently, Covid-19 patients are occupying more than 25% of all ICU beds, and some healthcare workers are worried for what’s going to happen when that percentage nears max capacity. Experts are especially worried that with the impending holiday season many individuals will ignore the global health crisis and continue their holiday part plans as usual. 

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“This pandemic has taken such an emotional toll, on children and seniors alike, that we suspect many families will likely take the risk of gathering.”

The holiday’s also mean college students will be returning home indefinitely until they receive updated news on what their spring semesters will look like under the new Biden administration and whatever shifts in policies he implements to further protect Americans. The thought of young students who could have been carelessly gathering in small dorm rooms coming home to their more vulnerable, older family members has many worried. 

College campuses in all 50 states have reported Covid-19 outbreaks since the fall semester began. If you have a young adult planning to make the trip home in the coming weeks, make sure you’re all taking the proper precautions and getting tested and quarantining if needed. We’re likely all about to be spending even more time with one another as the weeks progress, the pandemic worsens, and we get a new administration in the White House that’s already planning a multitude of new health and safety measures to keep us safe.

Woman Wearing Protective Face Mask

CDC Sets New General Guidelines For Covid-19 Protection 

The US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance for navigating the Covid-19 pandemic as a means of updating and further emphasizing the importance of wearing a mask. The CDC made it clear in their guidelines that wearing a face mask doesn’t just protect you from the coronavirus, but everyone around you as well. 

“Adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns, especially if combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and adequate ventilation.”

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Out of all of the policies that America has enacted right now as a means of curbing the spread of the Covid-19 virus, facial coverings and mask wearing is the number one way to prevent the spread of this disease when in a public setting. There have been multiple case studies that suggest the US can get their coronavirus numbers way down in a matter of weeks if every person wore a mask at all times when in public and only left their house for essential errands. 

“The prevention benefit of masking is derived from the combination of source control and personal protection for the mask wearer,” the CDC continued in their statement, explaining that “the relationship between source control and personal protection is likely complementary and possibly synergistic, so that individual benefit increases with increasing community mask use.”

Basically, the combination of you personally choosing to wear a mask every day when out in public and the general understanding that everyone else will do the same, will lead to a major decrease in new infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. It isn’t even an argument, as we’ve seen from a slew of other countries who had strict mask mandates that it truly does work in getting the numbers down. 

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“Studies demonstrate that cloth mask materials can also reduce wearers’ exposure to infectious droplets through filtration, including filtration of fine droplets and particles less than 10 microns,” the CDC continued; for reference 150 microns is roughly the width of a single strand of human hair. 

The agency continued to discuss how masks have various degrees of effectiveness based on the type of mask it is. “Multiple layers of cloth with higher thread counts have demonstrated superior performance compared to single layers of cloth with lower thread counts, in some cases filtering nearly 50% of fine particles less than 1 micron,” they said. 

The CDC went on to discuss how if you’re looking to order masks online, see if you can find ones made up of materials like polypropylene, which works as a binding tool for cloth particles that will further improve the effectiveness of how well your mask filters out air. Silk masks are a prime example of this, as the material works to “repel moist droplets and reduce fabric wetting to maintain breathability and comfort.”

Cloth masks in general are extremely protective in terms of blocking large droplets and the exhalation of finer droplets. Most cloth masks can block up  to 70% of all fine droplets, and according to the CDC in some studies they’ve performed on par with surgical masks.

How President-Elect Joe Biden Plans To Fight The Covid-19 Pandemic

Citizens of the US can expect a national mask policy, increase in Covid-19 testing sites, and the possibility of a nationwide lockdown once President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January. The Biden-Harris campaign laid out a step-by-step plan for addressing the pandemic which includes a detailed list of new policies, protections, and processes that will help frontline workers and the American people curb the spread and hopefully minimize the amount of new cases/hospitalizations. 

The campaign also announced its own specific Covid-19 advisory board co-chaired by former FDA Commissioner Dr. David Kessler, former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and  Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine. The timing of this transition of power couldn’t have come at a better time, as the US has surpassed 100,000 new Covid-19 cases a day all last week, projecting a very difficult winter for the nation. 

While potential vaccines around the world are showing great promise in their ability to combat and protect against Covid-19, the process and time it will take to widely distribute those vaccines is too uncertain not to start making changes now. Biden has also said he would be listening to scientists like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who current President Trump has demonized throughout the pandemic. 

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“I would be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives. In order to keep the country running and moving and the economy growing, and people employed, you have to fix the virus. I would shut it down. I would listen to the scientists.”

Up until now the Trump administration has allowed state governments to decide whether or not they wanted to shut down, reopen, impose mask requirements, and purchase their own testing materials and personal protective gear. This has led to America being one of the most infected countries in the world that has seen little to no improvement in terms of case numbers and deaths dropping. As of today there have been over 10 million cases and 238,000 deaths in the US. 

Biden’s plan will call for a coordinated national strategy that would use the Defense Protection Act to actually ensure the US has all the proper healthcare equipment it needs to handle the rest of this pandemic. Testing sites will also likely double throughout the county, and at-home testing will be made more widely available. Biden also claims that he would establish a US public health job corps to “mobilize at least 100,000 Americans across the country to support contact tracing efforts, which has largely been left for the states to arrange, and assist populations at higher risk.”

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It’s unclear how it will be executed, but Biden will likely also call for a national mask requirement in all public settings/spaces. It will likely start with masks being required in all federal buildings and interstate transportation systems. The CDC will also be directed to provide communities with all the evidence-based guidance they have for combatting the virus. The CDC will also have more of a say in terms of school and business reopenings, as well as stay-at-home orders nationwide. Dr. Howard Koh is a professor at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the former assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Obama administration who recently spoke with the press about how hopeful he was for the future of this pandemic under the Biden administration. 

“I would expect that under President Biden, he would reinstitute regular briefings with Fauci, galvanized by the White House, but empowering the top scientists to convey their knowledge and guidance on behalf of the American people.”

Biden will also repair the damaged relationship that’s been created between the US and the World Health Organization. His administration hopes that the American people will see this pandemic is not political, and every move and decision that will be made will be based on science and with the greater interest of the American people’s health and safety at heart. 

Experts also expect that by the time Biden takes office there will likely be initial doses of a coronavirus vaccine made available to priority populations like health-care workers. The initial plan there would involve how to distribute and manage the administering of the vaccine when it first appears, so for now America will have to continue to wait as these policies and treatments come to life.

Medical Face Masks

The Best Transparent Face Masks Currently On The Market 

Now that the world has been enduring the Covid-19 pandemic for six months, many of us have found ways of creating some normalcy within our new standards of living. Mask-wearing and facial coverings in general have become the biggest “new normal” we’ve all had to adjust to and many brands have taken it upon themselves to create as many types of masks as possible, so everyone can feel comfortable. 

Transparent masks have recently risen in popularity especially among individuals who may be hard of hearing or who rely on lip reading to communicate with one another. For a while, the only way to get a mask that would show your mouth and still offer the same level of protection as a standard face mask would be to make it. Now, plenty of brands have jumped on the opportunity to be more inclusive in their mask options. Here are some of the most popular transparent masks on the market today: 

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The EvaFAST 5-Piece Clear Window Mask: These “window masks” from EvaFast come in dozens of cool patterns, colors, and designs to fit anyone’s personal style. They come in packs of 5 for just $14, so you’ll have plenty of variety to choose from throughout the week. The masks themselves are made with a breathable material and adjustable ear straps that are soft for those with more sensitive skin. 

The Futomcop 5-Piece Clear Window Mask: Futomcop releases a line of minimalistic, colorful gingham transparent masks just in time for autumn. The masks themselves have a very large triangular clear panel to allow maximum lip-viewing. The wearer’s mouth will be visible regardless of if it’s open or closed, and the picnic-cloth patterns give off the perfect cottage core vibes for fall. These masks come in a pack of 4 for $15. 

Ellasbow See Through Mask: These masks are sold on Etsy for $12. The fabric of the masks are made with multiple layers to ensure it’s tightly adhered to your face. Reviewers claim the vinyl panel and elastic straps allow for ultimate comfort, and plenty of lip visibility. 

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Sachika Boutique Anti-Fog Clear Face Mask: This mask is a little more pricey at $17, however, it takes the idea of a transparent face mask to the next level. The entire mask is transparent, and once it’s secured on your face you’ll notice you have plenty of room within the mask so it doesn’t feel like it’s suffocating you. The vinyl is anti-fog, which works to keep the mask clear while also preventing any germs from entering. 

Geoaxaral Treasures Visual Face Mask With Eye Shield: This incredibly unique mask from Etsy retails for $15, and is one of the only face masks on the market that has a clear eye shield attached to it, allowing for ultimate face protection. 

Xiaojmake 5-piece Face Masks with Transparent Windows: This mask’s claim to fame is its extremely minimal design and simple color options. For those who don’t want to think so much about which patterned mask matches which outfit the most, Xiaojmake offers a line of solid colored clear face masks. They retail for $15 for a pack of 5. 

Baby Jack and Company Children’s Smile Window Mask: Finally, for the kids, Baby Jack has created a line of fun kid-themed  transparent masks for all of your little ones to enjoy. They’re one of the first companies to create masks for kids with “smile windows” to allow for ultimate lip reading. The masks come in a variety of designs and patterns that include jungle animals, unicorns, space, and more! They retail for $10.  

Delta Airline on Screen

Delta Among Airlines Adding Passengers Who Refuse To Wear Masks To No-Fly List

Travelling anywhere during the coronavirus pandemic poses a certain level of risk, but getting on a plane especially is cause for taking as many precautions as possible. Many airlines have begun implementing mandatory health and safety procedures such as social distancing markers within all airports, requiring facial coverings at all times, and removing middle seat options from being purchased.

For the most part, major airlines throughout the US are taking these procedures seriously and mandating them within all locations. Delta, specifically, wants their customers to understand how important these policies are, and have gone so far as to place people on the no-fly list for refusing to wear a mask while on board. 

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Delta CEO Ed Bastian recently spoke with the media about the company’s mask policy, claiming that while some consumers may think being added to the no-fly list is “excessive,” they believe health and safety is number one priority always. 

“We’ve been… steadily and rather aggressively stepping up our enforcement of the mask policy. If you board the plane and you insist on not wearing your mask, we will insist that you don’t fly Delta into the future.”

The airline has had this policy implemented since the beginning of this pandemic, however, they only recently began seriously enforcing it as a part of their “Clearance-to-Fly” program. This program requires all passengers who claim to have medical conditions that exempt them from wearing a mask to go through a lengthy process to get pre-approval, however, the airline more so suggests that if you are one of these individuals, to stay home and not get on any sort of plane. 

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Delta began blocking out middle seat ticket listings to restrict airplane capacity in May, and is planning on continuing this until at least the end of September, however, it’s more dependent on how much worse the pandemic gets within the next two months. Bastian claims that all planes are also consistently sanitized between flights and layovers. 

“I know there’s a lot of anxiety in the general public — and even for road warriors who have been out flying for years — their first time back, there’s a level of angst that they need almost be walked through the process.”

Bastian claims that while he’s ready for traditional airline travel to resume, he knows that a vaccine is the only thing that will make everyone feel comfortable getting on a plane again, as he feels the same way. “We need some medical confidence back in consumers and continue to restore confidence in air travel.”

Southwest Airlines is one of the more recent companies to require all passengers wear a mask with no exceptions; regardless of any medical conditions that may prevent someone from wearing one. They claim if you have an illness severe enough to hinder your ability to wear a mask, you shouldn’t be getting on a plane in the middle of a global health crisis in general. 

American and United airlines also claimed that they would temporarily ban passengers from flying on their planes if they refuse to wear a mask on board like Delta.

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CDC Director Offers Covid-19 Update, Urges Citizens To Wear Their Masks

Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in America has recently delivered a Covid-19 update in which he claimed that the outbreak could be controlled across the nation within 4-6 weeks if people were more strict about wearing their masks. According to Redfield over half of the states in America are currently spiking at a faster rate than they had been in the spring. 

Johns Hopkins University has been collecting national data on Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. As of this week, they reported that the US has surpassed 3.4 million positive cases of the coronavirus with over 136,000 deaths. Globally there have been about 13.3 million cases and almost 580,000 deaths; meaning the US accounts for around 24% of all covid-related deaths. 

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Redfield consistently was emphasizing that disciplined use of facial coverings, social distancing, and hand washing can dramatically decrease the rate in which this virus spreads, however, this isn’t new information. The biggest issue now is enforcing these policies that so many Americans are actively ignoring because their state governments are telling them it’s okay to be out in public again through the reopenings. 

“If all of us would put on a face covering now for the next four weeks to six weeks, we could drive this epidemic to the ground in this country.”

Redfield went on to discuss other aspects of the pandemic as well, specifically how the Trump administration is now implementing a new directive that requires all hospitals to bypass the CDC when it comes to sending Covid-19 related data to the government. Instead, the data is to be sent directly to the Department of Health and Human Services. 

For reference, the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network has been the number one source of information in terms of all things coronavirus related. This includes data on things like hospital bed numbers, ventilator use/availability, and personal protective equipment (PPEs). Now, the administration claims the new system will streamline the collection of these important stats and the CDC will still be able to have access to the information, they just won’t get it first. 

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Finally, the CDC announced that pharmaceutical company Moderna Inc. is currently in the early stages of a trial for a Covid-19 vaccine that’s showing successful results. The vaccine has proven to trigger an immune response within the body, however, it’s still too early to tell if that immune response is strong enough to actually protect someone from contracting the Covid-19 virus. 

Moderna’s chief medical officer Dr. Tal Zaks recently spoke with the media about the vaccine that’s technical name is mRNA-1273. Zaks claims that while we don’t have all the data yet, so far all indications prove the vaccine to be safe and effective. 

“The levels of protective antibodies produced by the trial participants were similar to those found in patients who had recovered from COVID-19, suggesting that the candidate vaccine provides the same protection as an infection.”

In the meantime, it’s recommended that we all continue to listen to the CDC and all of our country’s healthcare providers when they tell us the most effective ways to curve the spread of this virus. If we want a chance at returning to a life of normalcy, it’s imperative that we wear our masks in public, continue to social distance, and wash our hands as often as possible.