Despite vaccines in place and more on the way, plus the global fatigue that the COVID-19 virus has provoked – some things that have marked this era may never go away.
A team at Canada’s McMaster’s Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials (CEPEM) is predicting that the face mask will remain in use long after COVID-19 has been contained.
The researchers are working on creating the next generation of masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) for both health-care workers and the public.
The team is of the view that there are benefits to people wearing a mask more regularly, as it could slow the spread of other viruses, like the flu or common cold, something many regions have already seen this year.
Dr. James Dickinson, a professor of family medicine at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine, has reportedly said that COVID-19 measures in place — like mandatory mask-wearing rules and physical distancing — could be why there hasn’t been a single lab-confirmed case of influenza in many regions.
Patricia Dolez is leading a team at Edmonton’s University of Alberta that’s also trying to make better PPE to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases in the future.
They’re developing a fabric treatment for medical gowns and masks that could kill viruses and bacteria on contact.
Because PPE can help control more than just COVID-19, researchers in the field imagine the general public continuing to wear it post-pandemic — but only if the next generation of PPE is more catered to users’ needs.