The government in the UK has been very cautious about terminology and also the timing of any request for the wider public to consider covering their face with anything.
Why, and what is the difference between a mask and a face covering?
There has been a shortage of PPE for medical teams, care homes and those in the front line of contact with people. These people for the most part need medical grade masks - that are to a medical standard and will offer protection for patient and clinician. It is important that this supply chain is not interrupted by the population as a whole. We would all rather a doctor, nurse or career in direct contact with ill patients has medical standard PPE.
The word face covering has come about to try and help the rest of us, in less danger, to reduce the spread of the virus when in public and trying as hard as possible to distance. If we cover our mouths there is evidence that it reduces the spread. We assume that by using the word face covering, the government wants us, the general population, to understand that we should not take the medical standard PPE that is in short supply, instead, use more comfortable, easier to obtain alternatives.
What protection does a non-medical face covering (non FFP rated) offer?
WOW Masks are made to comply with a filtration level as laid down in AFNOR S76-001. This means they reach a design specification for non-medical barrier masks. This French code level has allowed countries across Europe to offer face coverings that are made to a standard, that assist with the prevention of spreading of Covid-19, whilst at the same time preventing degradation of limited medical supplies.The barrier element of these non-medical masks is the important factor.
Barrier Masks are effectively part of what has become known by the UK government as face coverings, they act as a barrier from you spreading Coronavirus / Covid-19 and only work when worn by multiple people in conditions where, for example, coughing and sneezing, may pass on the virus. The principle being that the mask or face covering 'catches' these droplets from you mouth before they reach others, within which the virus lives.
Still confused why the words face covering have been used? Well so are we to some extent, masks around the world come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, one does not go to a masked ball in FFP3 respirators or apply the best in beauty treatment face masks and call them face coverings. It is however all simply semantics and really there is one key point. We do not all need medical grade masks, and we should not be adding to pressure to medical supply chains - if we are in a situation where a barrier mask is required it should be worn by all those around us to make a barrier mask effective. Barriers masks as the government says help us protect each other.
Is the term 'face covering' too general?
This is probably the biggest unanswered question, a face covering does not have to be AFNOR S76-001 compliant - it could be your old t-shirt cut up, this for sure has less filtration but something is likely better than nothing. We would prefer that there was some clarification from the British Government on the matter, but if you're looking for a mask that's made to a recognised standard, that's washable, reusable, comfortable, and available from £10.50 with free UK shipping, check out our masks by clicking here...