Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > Travel Health and Fitness > Coronavirus and travel
Reload this Page >

Coronavirus and masks/face coverings [Consolidated thread]

Old Jun 24, 2020, 6:06 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: NewbieRunner
Moderator announcement - June 23, 2020:

Flyertalks moderators generally take a hands-off approach when it comes to judging the accuracy of members statements. While thats fine for travel debates, a pandemic is clearly a more serious issue.

A meta-analysis of 172 studies that looked at various interventions to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, SARS and MERS from an infected person to people close to them, published in The Lancet on June 1, found that mask wearing significantly reduces the risk of viral transmission.

Given the science, the forum moderators are disallowing any further posts that debate whether or not masks should be worn. Posts that do so will be deleted and members subject to discipline.

Please also note, we do not allow posting of conspiracy theories or racist terms used in place of Covid-19, coronavirus, etc.

- Coronavirus and Travel moderator team
Print Wikipost

Coronavirus and masks/face coverings [Consolidated thread]

 
Old Feb 23, 2020, 4:07 am
  #31  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Flatland
Programs: AA Lifetime Gold 1MM, BA Gold, UA Peon
Posts: 6,118
Viruses may be tiny but respiratory viruses are carried around in droplets of liquid from people coughing and these droplets can be filtered out by face masks. If people who may be, or are, infected wear masks then their coughing will not spread the virus further as the droplets they cough will be trapped in the mask. Commensurately, medical care staff wear masks to avoid inhaling these droplets if a patient coughs them up.

Hence advice to only wear a mask if you are (or might be) infectious, or are caring for those infected. The former reason is why you see many people in Japan wearing masks - they feel they have a cold or similar and are trying to prevent themselves spreading it to other people. It's a sign of being socially considerate.
flatlander is offline  
Old Feb 23, 2020, 4:21 am
  #32  
Ambassador, British Airways Executive Club, easyJet and Ryanair
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: UK/Las Vegas
Programs: BA Gold (GGL/CCR)
Posts: 16,034
Originally Posted by Greenpen
Bacteria are very small indeed but monstrous compared to a virus. Anywhere that air can go a virus is sure to follow!

Wearing a mask will trap water and bugs of all sorts do much better when well watered.
Quite, this is what Dr David Powell, the medical advisor to IATA, says when asked about wearing masks and gloves:

"... First of all, masks. There’s very limited evidence of benefit, if any, in a casual situation. Masks are useful for those who are unwell to protect other people from them. But wearing a mask all the time will be ineffective. It will allow viruses to be transmitted around it, through it and worse still, if it becomes moist it will encourage the growth of viruses and bacteria.

Gloves are probably even worse, because people put on gloves and then touch everything they would have touched with their hands. So it just becomes another way of transferring micro-organisms. And inside the gloves, your hands get hot and sweaty, which is a really good environment for microbes to grow..."


Here is the link to the Bloomberg interview: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...&sref=4ZGeBqkb

In the last 3 weeks I've visited the USA, Thailand, the Middle East and Singapore and not once did I feel any concern for my health. I take all the usual precautions as I would to protect myself from Flu. If you look at the statistics, flu is a greater threat to our health when travelling than coronavirus (COVID-19). In the USA during this flu season there have been over 29 million illnesses, 280,000 hospitalisations and over 16,000 deaths (including 105 paediatric deaths) from flu.
Tobias-UK is offline  
Old Feb 23, 2020, 4:22 am
  #33  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Programs: AA MM, AA EXP; OW Emerald, EK silver
Posts: 933
Great advice from all - common sense applies. Unless you're traveling to a country with a significant number of infected persons or going somewhere with a poor health system (given your wife is diabetic) I would continue to travel. I do have a couple of N95 masks with me just in case and have hand sanitizer in my carry on for frequent use. However, remember, soap and water works the best! I have several upcoming trips in the next few weeks and as they don't involve China, Japan or Korea am not changing my plans.
My only - and totally irrational - concession to the virus is that I'll avoid the Cathay lounge when I go through T3 tomorrow,
nancypants likes this.
dwugson is offline  
Old Feb 23, 2020, 4:25 am
  #34  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Programs: AA MM, AA EXP; OW Emerald, EK silver
Posts: 933
Originally Posted by Tobias-UK
Quite, this is what Dr David Powell, the medical advisor to IATA, says when asked about wearing masks and gloves:
............ If you look at the statistics, flu is a greater threat to our health when travelling than coronavirus (COVID-19). In the USA during this flu season there have been over 29 million illnesses, 280,000 hospitalisations and over 16,000 deaths (including 105 paediatric deaths) from flu.
The difference is that you can and should get vaccinated against the flu - nothing is yet available for COVID-19
sdsearch and nancypants like this.
dwugson is offline  
Old Feb 23, 2020, 4:40 am
  #35  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Plymouth, UK
Programs: BAEC Gold
Posts: 1,159
Originally Posted by dwugson
The difference is that you can and should get vaccinated against the flu - nothing is yet available for COVID-19
This is my wife's concern. Yes, she is at higher risk than non-diabetics but she has had 4 strain flu jab and a jab for pneumonia so she has a degree of protection against those but no jabs yet for corvid-19.

One thing I am struggling to understand... we have been told that there is a 14-day incubation period for corvid-19 and it is normal for people to become infectious before symptoms show. We are also told (from above) that there is no reason to wear masks if you don't have symptoms. There is a contradiction there. The biggest risk to spreading the virus is between someone being infected and when they show symptoms as the infected person does not realise they are infected. In this period they are going about their normal business oblivious that they are spreading the virus. Therefore, it seems to me that the greatest benefit from wearing a mask (if any benefit exists that is) is at a time when you don't show symptoms! I am therefore struggling to understand how it is good advice only to wear masks when showing symptoms... surely, to prevent the spread we must take all precautions while we DON'T have symptoms as well as when we do.
snaxmuppet is offline  
Old Feb 23, 2020, 4:58 am
  #36  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Programs: BAEC Silver
Posts: 458
Originally Posted by snaxmuppet
This is my wife's concern. Yes, she is at higher risk than non-diabetics but she has had 4 strain flu jab and a jab for pneumonia so she has a degree of protection against those but no jabs yet for corvid-19.

One thing I am struggling to understand... we have been told that there is a 14-day incubation period for corvid-19 and it is normal for people to become infectious before symptoms show. We are also told (from above) that there is no reason to wear masks if you don't have symptoms. There is a contradiction there. The biggest risk to spreading the virus is between someone being infected and when they show symptoms as the infected person does not realise they are infected. In this period they are going about their normal business oblivious that they are spreading the virus. Therefore, it seems to me that the greatest benefit from wearing a mask (if any benefit exists that is) is at a time when you don't show symptoms! I am therefore struggling to understand how it is good advice only to wear masks when showing symptoms... surely, to prevent the spread we must take all precautions while we DON'T have symptoms as well as when we do.
So in other words everyone in the world would wear a mask all the time, just in case? So you’d need 7 billion masks a day, or thereabouts?
Starship73 is offline  
Old Feb 23, 2020, 5:00 am
  #37  
Ambassador, British Airways Executive Club, easyJet and Ryanair
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: UK/Las Vegas
Programs: BA Gold (GGL/CCR)
Posts: 16,034
Originally Posted by dwugson
The difference is that you can and should get vaccinated against the flu - nothing is yet available for COVID-19
Indeed, and because of the amount of travel I undertake I always get vaccinated against as many diseases as necessary including flu and pneumonia.

The point I was trying to make is that we shouldn't be overly worried about our travel and instead take the sensible precautions we should already be taking when travelling such as regularly washing hands and the moderately regular use of hand sanitizer between washes or after being in contact with certain well used surfaces (doors, chairs, fingerprint scanners etc).
HIDDY and snaxmuppet like this.
Tobias-UK is offline  
Old Feb 23, 2020, 5:28 am
  #38  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London
Programs: BA GGLfL, WoH Lifetime Globalist, HH Diamond, SPG Gold
Posts: 718
Originally Posted by T8191
Grateful for those inputs, especially from medical professionals.
For the avoidance of doubt with respect to myself, please be aware that despite my screen handle I am not a medical doctor.

Doc Copper
DoctorCopper is offline  
Old Feb 23, 2020, 5:31 am
  #39  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Programs: Confirmed
Posts: 1,091
Would you travel in the flu season? Would catching a flu affect you, and is there any health conditions that make you more vulnerable to flu?

With all the general flu season precautions taken, how confident are you, that you can keep healthy and enjoy your holiday?

everyone has his own risk appetite.
SKRan is offline  
Old Feb 23, 2020, 5:46 am
  #40  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: NT Australia
Programs: QF WP
Posts: 4,178
Originally Posted by Starship73
So in other words everyone in the world would wear a mask all the time, just in case? So youd need 7 billion masks a day, or thereabouts?
Well as others have alluded to as soon as they get wet from being breathed on they need a change. Medically that gives up to an absolute max of 1 hour for FFP3s, modern surgical masks a bit longer perhaps 4-8 hours at best. So 7 billion x3-24 = 21-168 billion masks, per day
nancypants is offline  
Old Feb 23, 2020, 6:00 am
  #41  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Programs: BAEC Silver
Posts: 458
Originally Posted by nancypants
Well as others have alluded to as soon as they get wet from being breathed on they need a change. Medically that gives up to an absolute max of 1 hour for FFP3s, modern surgical masks a bit longer perhaps 4-8 hours at best. So 7 billion x3-24 = 21-168 billion masks, per day
So let's just say conservatively then that not advising all symptomless people to wear masks means that we don't have to manufacture at least 20 billion additional masks per day, which seems like a sensible approach.
Starship73 is offline  
Old Feb 23, 2020, 6:12 am
  #42  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Plymouth, UK
Programs: BAEC Gold
Posts: 1,159
Originally Posted by SKRan
Would you travel in the flu season? Would catching a flu affect you, and is there any health conditions that make you more vulnerable to flu?

With all the general flu season precautions taken, how confident are you, that you can keep healthy and enjoy your holiday?

everyone has his own risk appetite.
We have had flu jabs and while it doesn't guarantee we won't get flu it does provide a good element of protection so I don't think you can directly compare flu with corvid-19 in that way... but your point is well taken... we must keep it all in perspective. We do forget that flu infects many every year and many die from it. It is so common that this is easy to forget

Originally Posted by Starship73
So in other words everyone in the world would wear a mask all the time, just in case? So youd need 7 billion masks a day, or thereabouts?
Originally Posted by nancypants
Well as others have alluded to as soon as they get wet from being breathed on they need a change. Medically that gives up to an absolute max of 1 hour for FFP3s, modern surgical masks a bit longer perhaps 4-8 hours at best. So 7 billion x3-24 = 21-168 billion masks, per day
LOL! Yes, that is the logical conclusion except that I would only expect people to need to take special precautions if at risk or if exposed to the public in more than the normal way... such as when travelling on public transport!!! So I don't think that everyone, everywhere would need a mask but you are right... it would not be tenable, nor considered statistically necessary.

Thanks again for everyone's input.

I am surprised that there has not been general advice to use masks when on public transport especially around international hubs where, if there is anywhere that there is likely to be infected people spreading the virus, that is one of the most likely.

I have decided not to wear a mask for now but if it gets much worse then, in spite of their limited effectiveness, I may well change my mind However, I will be taking all reasonable precautions such as washing hands, not touching face, avoiding unnecessary close proximity to fellow travellers etc.

Let's hope that the weather comes to our rescue and tempers further spreading.
snaxmuppet is offline  
Old Feb 23, 2020, 6:30 am
  #43  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Programs: AA MM, AA EXP; OW Emerald, EK silver
Posts: 933
Just a reminder re masks - the 'regular' masks don't fully protect against viruses and may give people a false sense of security. Also if not changed frequently they can do more harm than good. If you want viral protection an N95 mask is needed and even they won't replace regular hand washing. Most people you see in masks are wearing regular masks which, as already mentioned, if not disposed of properly can be even more of a risk.
snaxmuppet likes this.
dwugson is offline  
Old Feb 23, 2020, 6:32 am
  #44  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Programs: American Life Time 2 Million Mile Platinum
Posts: 393
I am a doctor.

Unfortunately, the N95 masks are not effective as they require fitting to work (when I wore mine for more than an hour, it hurt it was so tight to my face; it cannot be worn effectively with beards) and the Corona virus is too small it easily penetrates the mask.

Hand washing and wipes (Carry some with you to wipe surfaces that you touch; tray, seat belt, buckle arm rest, etc) are effective in reducing viral spread.

It is clear at this point that the Corona virus has spread world wide, not yet a "pandemic", with some places more affected than others (China, Korea, Japan, and Italy as some examples). But you are displaying normalcy bias if you believe that the virus is not present in almost every place that you would travel, more importantly that you would be traveling with in an airliner.

Concerns:
1. Where will you be if you become ill? Will you accept the level of health care available to you and your wife in those localities as you will not be allowed to leave.
2. With your wife's diabetes (and I am making the assumption that you are older) you are in the higher risk group for Corona virus severity of illness, #1 is of more concern.
3. If you are "exposed" to some one who has Corona virus and forced to "self quarantine" in a foreign country, can you afford to do that? It is not clear that local governments are paying for non-nationals to self quarantine in a hotel room, so if you and your wife are in Chicago, could you afford the extra expense of 14days in a hotel plus food waiting to see if you turn positive or not?

4. #3 implies the need to carry additional medications for two more weeks of all of both you and your wife medications beyond the normal duration of your trip, in case the worst were to happen as described in #3 .

My wife and I are in our 60's. We just took a trip to Israel the first two weeks in December for her 60th birthday via London. I would not take that trip now due to Corona virus concerns for us and because we have a son with autism and crohn's disease who is immunosuppressed we care for. We have to live as long as possible to care for him nor would dare bring it back to him.

This disease will burn itself out in 12-18 months as did the Spanish flu. Take your elective trips then. All the best.
mnhusker is offline  
Old Feb 23, 2020, 6:32 am
  #45  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Singapore
Programs: BA Gold. KrisFlyer Gold
Posts: 734
The attitudes about mask-wearing looks partly to be about mis-guided risk perception and partly about social and cultural expectations.

I'm travelling to Hong Kong for a week next weekend, and the hotel has emailed to let me know that it is compulsory for everyone to wear face masks in public areas of the hotel. I replied questioning the health rationale for this, and also pointing out that I don't have a face mask, and am unable to purchase any in advance of my trip (mainly due to the high demand and other practical reasons). We're still negotiating, but I do not intend to wear a face mask at any time during my visit to HK - unless, of course, I develop symptoms of a respiratory illness.

Alcohol-based hand sanitiser and wipes are a whole different matter.
crazyanglaisy is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.