Double-masking might not protect against Covid-19, but rather raises the risk of infection as well as transmission, US researchers have claimed, in a study.
The study published in Physics of Fluids, suggests double masking with improperly fitted masks may "not significantly improve mask efficiency and produces a false sense of security".
"More layers mean a less porous face covering, leading to more flow forced out of the perimeter gaps (sides, top, and bottom) in masks with a less secure fit," argued researchers at Florida State University and Johns Hopkins University.
Double layers increase filtering efficiency only with good mask fit but could also lead to breathing difficulties.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, loosely woven cloth masks offer the least protection against Covid, and N95 and KN95 masks offer the most.
Still, after more than two years since the pandemic began, there is not a full understanding of mask characteristics for the most optimal protection.
In the study, the team used principal component analysis (PCA) along with fluid dynamics simulation models to show the crucial importance of proper fit for all types of masks and how face shape influences the most ideal fit.
The researchers modelled a moderate cough jet from the mouth of an adult male wearing a cloth mask over the nose and mouth with elastic bands wrapped around the ears.
They calculated the maximum volume flow rates through the front of the mask and peripheral gaps at different material porosity levels.
For a more realistic 3D face shape and size, the researchers used PCA that integrated 100 adult male and 100 adult female heads retrieved from head scan data at Basel University in Switzerland. PCA condenses large sets of variables while retaining most of the information.
Their model showed how the slight asymmetry typical in all facial structures can affect proper mask fitting. For example, a mask can have a tighter fit on the left side of the face than on the right side.
"Facial asymmetry is almost imperceivable to the eye but is made obvious by the cough flow through the mask," said co-author Tomas Solano, from Florida State University.
"For this particular case, the only unfiltered leakage observed is through the top. However, for different face shapes, leakage through the bottom and sides of the mask is also possible," he added.
Creating "designer masks" customised to each person's face is not practical at scale. Still, PCA-based simulations can be used to design better masks for different populations by revealing general differences between male and female or child versus elderly facial structures and the associated air flow through masks, the researchers said. (Agency)
Read More► Covid-19 Pandemic Raised Antibiotic-Resistant Infections: Study
Nearly 300 probable cases of children with severe hepatitis have been detected in 20 countries worldwide, with some in Southeast Asia, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said, BBC reported.
Health officials around the world are investigating a mysterious increase in cases of the liver condition which was first spotted in the UK.
A common virus called adenovirus, which has rebounded after the pandemic, could be causing the surge, BBC reported. One death has been reported by the WHO.
As of 1 May, it said most cases of young children with hepatitis had been detected in Europe with small numbers also reported in the Americas, western Pacific and Southeast Asia.
The first cases of this unusual hepatitis were spotted in Scotland in children under the age of 10. More than 110 cases have now been recorded in the UK so far.
Most children had a mild form of liver inflammation, although 10 children have needed a liver transplant, the report said.
They had initial symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea followed by yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, called jaundice.
The hepatitis viruses that normally cause the condition (viruses A, B, C, D and E) were not detected in any of the children.
Countries worldwide started looking for the same unexplained condition 'of unknown origin' in children after it was highlighted by UK health officials.
There is no reason to believe the rare liver condition itself is spreading around the world, BBC reported. (Agency)
Read More► How to Maintain A Healthy Liver
Asthma in children is likely to get worse after a Covid-19 infection, finds a large-scale nationwide study in the US.
Six months after a Covid infection, asthmatic children showed significant increases in emergency department visits, hospitalisations, emergency inhaler use, and steroid treatments, compared to children without Covid, researchers reported in a pre-print of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
A team from Children's Hospital of Orange County in California examined 61,916 asthmatic children aged 2-17.9 years who were infected with Covid between March 2020 and February 2021.
"Our data demonstrates that while asthma outcomes were improved for those who tested negative for SARS-COV-2, asthmatic children who were definitively diagnosed with Covid-19 have worse asthma control in the first six months after infection," said Dr. Christine C. Chou from the Hospital's Department of Paediatrics.
On the other hand, children who tested negative for Covid virus had improved asthma control for the next six months, meaning fewer emergency department visits and hospitalisations for asthma, and less asthma treatment, the study showed.
Previous studies hypothesised that there was an overall improvement in asthma control during the last two years of pandemic. Respiratory viral infections are major triggers of asthma exacerbations, including coronaviruses. It was therefore unexpected that asthmatic children have not experienced increased exacerbations during the Covid-19 pandemic SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Chou said that it was due to hygiene and public health measures, and/or decreased exposures to particulate matter and viral triggers.
"In fact, we previously found a dramatic reduction in asthma morbidity after mid-March 2020 compared to previous years, plausibly associated with fewer respiratory viral illnesses during stay-at-home measures," Chou said.
"The asthma-triggering effect of SARS-CoV-2 was likely masked by the overall decrease in asthma exacerbations during the stay-at-home measures when other asthma triggers were less present in the community," she noted. (agency)
Read More► New Variant of Corona Detected in Patna
Patna: The health department of Bihar on Thursday detected a new variant of Omicron in Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS).
The new variant BA.12 is 10 times more dangerous than BA.2 which was detected during the third wave of Corona in the country.
Prof Dr Namrata Kumari, the HOD of microbiology department of IGIMS, said: "Keeping in view the rising Covid cases, we had started genome sequencing of samples of Omicron variant of Corona. There were 13 samples tested and one of them had BA.12 strains. The remaining 12 samples have BA.2 strains."
"We have asked the authority for contact tracing of all the positive samples of Omicron. The BA.12 variant is 10 time more dangerous than BA.2. Though, there is no need to worry. Precaution is required here to protect from it," She said.
The BA.12 variant was first detected in the US. There were two to three cases detected in Delhi and now one case in Patna. (agency)
Read More► 6 in 10 People Continue to Suffer A Year After Covid Infection: Study
जेनेवा: विश्व स्वास्थ्य संगठन (डब्ल्यूएचओ) ने चेतावनी दी है कि भले ही वैश्विक स्तर पर कोविड-19 के मामलों और मौतों की संख्या में गिरावट जारी है, लेकिन महामारी अभी खत्म नहीं हुई है। कोविड-19 के मामलों में कमी का कारण बड़े पैमाने पर परीक्षण दरों (टेस्टिंग रेट्स) में गिरावट भी बताया जा रहा है।
डब्ल्यूएचओ के महानिदेशक ट्रेडोस एडनॉम घेब्येयिसस ने मंगलवार को एक प्रेस वार्ता में बताया कि पिछले हफ्ते, डब्ल्यूएचओ को सिर्फ 15,000 से अधिक कोरोना वायरस से संबंधित मौतों की सूचना मिली है, जो मार्च 2020 के बाद से सबसे कम साप्ताहिक संख्या है।
उन्होंने कहा कि हालांकि इस उत्साहजनक प्रवृत्ति की सावधानी से व्याख्या की जानी चाहिए, क्योंकि कई देशों ने टेस्टिंग पर वापस कदम रखा है और इसके परिणामस्वरूप डब्ल्यूएचओ को ट्रांसमिशन और सीक्वेंसिंग के बारे में कम जानकारी मिल रही है।
ट्रेडोस ने कहा कि यह हमें संचरण और इसके फैलाव (ट्रांसमिशन एंड एवोलूशन) के पैटर्न के प्रति अंधा बना देता है, लेकिन यह वायरस सिर्फ इसलिए नहीं जाएगा, क्योंकि देशों ने इसकी तलाश करना बंद कर दिया है। यह अभी भी फैल रहा है, यह अभी भी बदल रहा है और यह अभी भी जान ले रहा है।
उन्होंने चेताते हुए कहा कि जब एक घातक वायरस की बात आती है, तो अज्ञानता सही नहीं है। डब्ल्यूएचओ सभी देशों से निगरानी बनाए रखने का आह्वान करता रहता है।
कोविड-19 महामारी के एक नए आपातकाल के बाद के चरण में प्रवेश करने के यूरोपीय संघ के हालिया फैसले पर प्रतिक्रिया देते हुए, डब्ल्यूएचओ स्वास्थ्य आपात कार्यक्रम के कार्यकारी निदेशक, माइक रयान ने आगाह किया कि यह समय वायरस पर से ध्यान हटाने का नहीं है और न ही इसके विकसित होने की क्षमता को हल्के में लिया जाना चाहिए।
उन्होंने चिंता जताते हुए कहा कि तथ्य यह है कि हम अभी तक इससे बाहर नहीं निकले हैं।
समाचार एजेंसी सिन्हुआ की रिपोर्ट के अनुसार, डब्ल्यूएचओ के हेल्थ इमर्जेंसी प्रोग्राम की टेक्निकल लीड मारिया वैन केरखोव ने कहा कि हाल के पॉजिटिव मामलों में रुझानों के बावजूद, उन्हें टेस्टिंग से जुड़ी रणनीतियों में बड़े पैमाने पर बदलाव और दुनिया भर में किए जा रहे परीक्षणों की संख्या में भारी कमी के कारण विश्व भर में रिपोर्ट किए जा रहे मामलों की संख्या में कम ही विश्वास है।
उन्होंने कहा, सकारात्मक पक्ष की बात की जाए तो हम एक बदलाव जरूर देख रहे हैं। हम निश्चित रूप से इस महामारी के एक अलग चरण में हैं, लेकिन हम अभी भी इस महामारी के बीच ही हैं और यह अभी भी एक वैश्विक समस्या बनी हुई है।
उन्होंने निष्कर्ष निकालते हुए कहा कि अब समय आ गया है कि हमने जो किया है उसे वास्तव में मजबूत करें और यह सुनिश्चित करें कि हम लोगों को सलामत रखें और हम अपनी अर्थव्यवस्थाओं को पटरी पर लाएं और हम लोगों की आजीविका बचाएं। (एजेंसी)
यह भी पढ़े► दमे की दवा कोरोना वायरस के स्पाइक प्रोटीन को रोकने में सक्षम
New York: People hospitalised during the pandemic both for Covid and other conditions have a higher rate of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections compared to patients hospitalised before the pandemic, according to a study.
An estimated 1.2 million people worldwide died in 2019 from antibiotic-resistant infections, and this number is predicted to increase ten-fold by 2050.
There have been studies reporting that the pandemic was associated with antimicrobial resistance (AMR) secondary infections, possibly due to the increase in the use of antibiotics to treat Covid-19 patients and disruptions to infection prevention and control practices in overwhelmed health systems.
The study, presented at this year's European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) being held in Portugal, evaluated the pandemic's impact on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in 271 hospitals across the US.
The researchers assessed AMR rates per 100 hospital admissions before and during the Covid pandemic, and examined whether drug-resistant infections were acquired in the community-onset setting (defined as a culture collected less than two days after admission) or in the hospital-onset setting (more than two days after admission).
In total, 1,789,458 patients were admitted to the hospital in the pre-pandemic period and 3,729,208 during the pandemic.
The number of patients admitted to the hospital with at least one AMR infection was 63,263 in the pre-pandemic period and 129,410 during the pandemic.
Patients who tested positive or negative for Covid had higher levels of AMR than patients before the pandemic, 4.92 per 100 admissions and 4.11 per 100 admissions, respectively.
For hospital-associated infections, the AMR rate was 0.77 per 100 admissions before the pandemic and 0.86 per 100 admissions during the pandemic, and highest at 2.19 per 100 admissions in patients with Covid-19.
When looking at community-onset infections, the AMR rate was 2.76 per 100 admissions in the pre-pandemic period, and 2.61 per 100 admissions during the pandemic.
"These new data highlight the importance of closely monitoring the impact of Covid-19 on antimicrobial resistance rates, said Dr Karri Bauer from the US pharmaceutical company Merck.
"It is particularly worrying that antibiotic resistance has been rising during the pandemic in both SARS-CoV-2 positive and negative patients. Hospital-acquired infections are a major concern, with antimicrobial resistance rates significantly higher during the pandemic than before," he added. (Agency)
Read More► Omicron Ups Risk of Upper Airway Infections, Cardiac Arrest in Small Kids
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