Coronavirus nose mask invented to lower risk of infection

‘Doctors and nurses work long hours in hospital, and we have to remove our mask to eat or drink,’ says medical professional

Kate Ng
Thursday 05 March 2020 14:56 GMT
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A doctor in Zhongshan Hospital, Shanghai, developed a nose-only face mask to protect health workers from coronavirus while they eat
A doctor in Zhongshan Hospital, Shanghai, developed a nose-only face mask to protect health workers from coronavirus while they eat

A team of medical professionals have reportedly developed a new type of face mask that covers only the nose to be used while health workers eat.

According to the China News Service, a prototype of the new mask was developed by Dr Jiang Jinjun of the pneumology department at Zhongshan Hospital in Shanghai.

Dr Jiang was concerned about health workers working among coronavirus patients having to remove the standard face masks in order to eat.

He was quoted as saying: “Doctors and nurses work long hours in hospital, and we have to remove our mask to eat or drink. Although the time required to do so is short, the risk of getting infected is high.”

After working with a team of four other people to develop the nose mark further, they applied for a patent on 10 February in hopes of mass producing the gear.

Two manufacturers, Luolai Group and Shanghai Longhon reportedly agreed to produce the masks. By the end of February, over 20,000 pieces of the mask were delivered to hospitals in Wuhan.

But the mask appears to have raised more questions than it answers among social media users, who called it “pointless”.

One person said: “Good work. Now all you need to do is stop the virus being absorbed into the eyes and mouth and you’ve got it sorted.”

Another said: “Is this cowboy-style hanky round the face any less effective than a strip of paper??”

According to the NHS, viruses similar to COVID-19 are usually spread through cough droplets but there is no concrete evidence on how the virus is transmitted.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that healthcare professionals take precautions in case the virus is airborne, including using face masks after a coronavirus patient vacates a room or avoid entering the room “until sufficient time has elapsed for enough air changes to remove potentially infectious particles”.

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