February 2, 2021

We Will Wear Masks After the COVID-19 Pandemic, Researchers Predict

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The PPEs for medical workers and face masks for the general public, it seems, are here to stay

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.

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