As we reach “Freedom Day”, decision makers, scientists, medics and indeed the general public remain divided about whether this is the right way forward for the UK, with many feeling that we are doing too much too soon and that it would have been sensible to leave some preventative measures in place. This sentiment has been echoed by many organisations and businesses, such as Transport for London, who continue to mandate the use of face masks aboard public transport.
Here at OmniProtect, we are fully supportive of a safe return to normal, but do believe, now more than ever, that face masks, good hygiene, regular testing and social distancing do and will continue to have a significant role to play in enabling this and that the threat posed by COVID-19 is far from over.
The “R number” has been driving policy decisions since Covid emerged in late 2019 and is broadly used as a measure of how many people on average, a person with COVID-19 will infect. UK government advisors have suggested that the R number for the basic strain of SARS-CoV-2 is 3.0, with the Alpha variant at 5.0 and the Delta variant, which is now dominant in the UK, at 7.0.
The NHS has done a truly incredible job of rolling out the vaccine, with 68% of the eligible adult population having received at least one dose. It is important however to remember that efficacy of the vaccine is significantly less against transmission versus infection, symptomatic disease, hospitalisation and death, as depicted in the table below:
|% Protection Offered By Vaccine||AstraZeneca||Pfizer / Moderna|
|Against onward transmission||47||47|
|Against symptomatic disease||66||86|
Wearing face masks certainly does have an impact on transmission and indeed the World Health Organisation recommends that “masks should be used as part of a comprehensive strategy of measures to suppress transmission and save lives”.
We will continue to wear them, will you?