Both my mum and dad recently celebrated their birthdays and yesterday the unusual gift pack I sent them a few days ago reached Paris and was delivered to my sister. The pack contains thirty N95 face masks and five boxes of surgical masks that I ordered from China.
I already tried to send face masks to Paris one month and a half ago, using normal post services, but they never arrived. This time I used a door to door delivery service and I am happy that the package reached safely its destination.
Masks have been a hot topic since the beginning of the pandemic and are still rare in France, where FFP2 type masks, the equivalent of N95 in Asia, cannot be sold to the public as they are reserved for use by healthcare professionals.
As the country progressively re-opens, questions on how to ensure the protection of persons at risk remain partially unanswered if an adequate supply of masks cannot be granted.
Governments and institutions such as the World Health Organization addressed the topic of facial masks usage with ambiguous guidelines in the past, but after three months of Coronavirus outbreak, only few people, including of course the President of United States of America, insist in finding them useless.
Facial masks need to be used correctly in order to be effective. In particular, the mouth and nose need to be completely covered.
Masks are not comfortable to wear, but they are, together with hand washing and social distancing, the most effective barrier to COVID while we wait for therapies and vaccine research to progress.