P2 Or N95 Masks Needed Urgently With Omicron
Certified masks with P2 or N95 ratings are face-fitting and filter out COVID virus particles by definition and need to be widely used to ensure people stay protected during the Omicron outbreak. Nick Davenport, founder of New Zealand mask manufacturer Lanaco, says peer reviewed research clearly advises P2 or N95 level respirator masks are critical to prevent the spread of COVID, especially the Omicron variant, but New Zealanders are overwhelmingly still using cloth or surgical masks that don’t fit well and don’t provide effective protection.
Nick says his company is offering to share its expertise and work with others in the industry to ensure that New Zealanders have the best chance to access proper protection.
He says respirators – face masks with P2 or N95-equivalent ratings – need to be immediately recognised as the best level of protection for the general adult population.
“The research and advice globally is that surgical/medical and cloth masks are comparatively ineffective in defence against Omicron and form a false sense of security that individuals are protected. They should be only a last resort.”
Vaccination and masking are clearly the way forward, yet in New Zealand masking availability, advice and overall strategy is not up to the standard of vaccination.
The use of cloth masks, the most common form of mask worn by the New Zealand public, should be discouraged, not encouraged, he says.
“Cloth masks, and ill-fitting surgical masks give the public a false sense of security that they are protected, when in fact they are not.”
Lanaco is uniquely able to comment, being a filter media manufacturer for the past seven years, and a certified respirator manufacturer since early 2020. The company has supplied respirators and general use masks to the NZ Olympic Committee for use by medical and support staff as well as all athletes for the Tokyo 2020 games; to Rotary New Zealand as part of the 1 Million Masks campaign (where 150,000 P2-level masks have already been donated to Pacific nations); as well as large volumes for local exporting primary producer factories.