3-layer masks with filter now recommended, Canada’s top doctor says
Canada’s top doctor has unveiled new recommendations for non-medical masks, saying they should be made of at least three layers and stressing their importance as the country heads indoors for winter amid a surging COVID-19 case count.
Face masks should comprise two layers of tightly-woven fabric such as cotton or linen, plus a third layer of a “filter-type fabric” such as polypropylene, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
“We’re not necessarily saying throw out everything that you have,” Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said at a news conference on Tuesday.
“The fit is the most important thing,” she said, emphasizing a nose pinch and full coverage of nose and mouth, but also comfort and breathability.
In a departure from news conference habit, the country’s top politicians and doctors wore their masks except when speaking, underscoring the role of face coverage in battling the pandemic as temperatures drop. Ordinarily, participants take off their masks once they take their places.
“Because it’s winter, because we’re all going inside, we’re learning more about droplets and aerosols. It’s just another layer of protection,” Tam said in Ottawa.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended wearing filtered, three-layer masks as early as June 12, but Tam said face coverings are an area of “evolving science”.
The mask memo came as Ontario reported a single-day record of 1,050 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, and 14 new deaths due to the virus.