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N95 Particulate Filtering Facepiece Respirator and the Virus crisis 2020


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N95 and the Virus crisis in the UK

I know it is hard to believe seeing an article like this here. It is totally unrelated to any coins. However, I wanted to use this space and opportunity to save our the NHS system and its staff. Therefore, this is bit I can do.

N95 Particulate Filtering Facepiece Respirator (i.e., N95 face masks) is a standard term on face masks named by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA. According to CDC, a N95 facepiece respirator is able to filter at least 95% of airborne particles, but unable to resist to oil. The standard of N95 was established in place after the Sars crisis in 2003/04. In Europe, there is three standards in terms of N95 style respirator, FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3. Because the FFP1 standard is extremely lower than the N95 standard, we will not cover it here. FFP stands for Filtering Face Piece and 1/2/3 donates the level of protection. a FFP2-graded respirator is equivalent to a N95 facepiece respirator and FFP3 is the highest grade (i.e., >99%) in its kind. For example, our NHS frontline staff must wear a FFP3 respirator associated with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to cope with patients.

Right now, the government has published social distancing (i.e., at least 2 meters between each) to isolate or delay the pandemic. It is not enough to stop this crisis. For instance, if you go to shopping, you are well aware the distance while you are waiting in a queue, but how many people are aware of the 2-meter distance when you are choosing products on shelves? However, this is time to spread the virus if you pass by a person who is potentially carrying the virus but insignificant to show symptoms. The virus can come to you through the air in a very short distance. In this scenario, a N95/ (at least) FFP2 face mask is required. A face mask is able to filter other particles in the air and give you very good quality air to breathe. You can imagine that if you are doing underwater activity without a breath, hard to survive, but give you scuba diving cylinder to use (i.e., oxygen), you swim like a fish in the water.

The pandemic crisis was started in very early Jan of 2020 in China (a few first cases confirmed in Wuhan China in the end of Dec 2019, due to information strictly delayed and/or unrevealed online), all either N95 or above FFP2 masks were OUT of STOCK in China and people were sourcing all possible face masks in Europe and the USA back to China during the periods of Jan and Feb. All factory orders in China has been in a long queue to March at the beginning of Feb 2020. The shortage of face masks in the world, we have to thank globalisation and Chinese purchasing power on all N95 and above. This tells us that Chinese people first thought was to use face masks to isolate and delay the spread of the virus. Very good example, please see Taiwan and Singapore. I have to say that Taiwan is not recognised by the WHO, but they really do a good job during the Sars and the Sars-COV-2 crisis, especially face mask supply domestic and the virus control strategy. Coronavirus information from Taiwan please see here.

In terms of the virus, I am really confused about its name. At the beginning of the pandemic crisis, not even called pandemic by the WHO, it was called the novel-Coronavirus-2019 (i.e., the 2019-nCOV or see PHE information 2019-nCOV). Later soon, it was officially named COVID-19 by the WHO. Sometimes, you probably see the Sars-COV-2 term. I believe that its proper name has not yet in place. We, as human being, will have to ponder what was going on in the past! Somehow, the WHO information has mislead all countries in the world. More information about the virus you can see from the Lancet.

Disclaimer:
All above, it only stands author’s personal view, other entity will not be held responsible for any inaccuracies.