To be sneezed at: that flimsy mask is no good against a virus

World

To be sneezed at: that flimsy mask is no good against a virus

It has become an essential weapon in the battle against an invisible enemy, but experts dispute its effectiveness

AFP

As fears of a deadly virus sweep the globe, panicked members of the public are depending on a flimsy first line of defence – surgical masks that are coveted, but in short supply and of limited use.

While Asian commuters cover their noses and mouths with the blue-green paper-thin covers – and social media buzzes with mask emojis, rumours of stockpiles and shortages – the humble medical mask has become an essential weapon in the battle against an invisible enemy.

Cheap, mass-made and usually readily available at convenience stores, experts dispute the usefulness of masks as a tool to block transmission of the new Sars-like virus...

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