Omicron: Doctor shares expert advice on the best protective face masks to wear

Morning Live: Doctor advises on which facemask is the best

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Official UK Government data demonstrates that the high number of Covid cases are now funnelling into more hospital admissions and deaths – and the figures are quite alarming. In the past seven days, hospital admissions have increased by nearly 60 percent, with over 2,258 people being admitted daily. Devastatingly, the number of deaths has skyrocketed by more than 131 percent in the past week, with more than 334 people losing their lives every day.

Appearing on BBC’s Morning Live, Dr Xand van Tulleken warned that “the NHS is really suffering”.

Now that face masks are mandatory once more in schools and public spaces, Dr Xand shared his expert advice on which ones are the most – and least – effective.

Acknowledging that this is a “very important” matter on people’s minds, Dr Xand starts with the standard surgical masks people use.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, there was relatively little evidence that they really worked,” he said, adding that face masks were advised on presumptive medical knowledge.

“Now we have done lots of trials and studies, [and] we know that masks work,” Dr Xand assured.

While standard surgical masks are effective, the ffp2 has a “tighter fit, better seal” and thicker layers.

The masks can be used multiple times before you throw them away, with a pack of five costing around £10.

Countries such as Germany, France, and Austria already shared guidelines to its people to wear specific high-grade masks, such as the ffp2, or better.

Dr Xand confirmed the ffp2 does “reduce the size and percent of particles that get in”, and it does “reduce transmission more effectively than other ones”.

Highlighting another popular choice, due to its nice fit, Dr Xand cautioned that the “valve doesn’t filter anything coming out”.

He warned: “They are inadvertently exposing people… [it’s] not a good choice.”

Dr Xand said that his advice would be, although ffp2 is better in theory and trials, the public health measures in the UK is to “cover your face with something that works”.

The doctor emphasised that “cloth masks are still good” but, if you are really concerned, maybe spend the extra money.

While face masks can be a bit of a “nuisance”, they help to “take a bit of pressure off the NHS”.

No face mask will completely prevent Covid transmission, but masks do work and Dr Xand thinks it’s a “good idea” people have to wear them in public spaces once again.

“The NHS are really suffering. They are having a tough old time,” he said, adding that we should do what we can.

Right now Government data shows that 34,586,810 people have now had their Covid booster vaccination.

Be prepared for short-term side effects if you get the booster, such as an aching arm, but some people may not experience any side effects.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is encouraging everybody over the age of 18 in the UK to get their booster.

Dr Xand van Tulleken is the Honorary Associate Professor at University College London (UCL) Health Public.

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