University of São Paulo: Protective mask against covid-19 is still important, especially for risk groups

Released since March 18, the use of protective masks against covid-19 is no longer mandatory in the State of São Paulo, both for open environments – which had already been released, on the 9th – and for closed places. But it is important to remember that use is still necessary for access to public transport – such as trains, Metro, buses and their respective platforms -, as well as app cars and taxis in the city of São Paulo.

The obligation also applies to health environments such as hospitals, clinics, offices, public and private service stations.

São Paulo joins other cities and states, which have already announced the end of the mandatory use of protection. The release occurs due to the improvement of epidemiological indicators and the drop in hospitalizations in ICU beds and infirmary.

Professor Gonzalo Vecina Neto, a health doctor at the Department of Health Policy and Management at the USP School of Public Health (FSP), explains that, after 22 months of using surgical masks, many people are tired. And guides that, “despite the flexibility, some groups should still wear masks, such as the elderly, morbidly obese and people with comorbidities”, evaluates the specialist.

booster dose
The use of mask will still be optional in commerce and schools. In the case of schools, the mask is only released during recess in open courtyards. Inside the classroom is still mandatory.

With the most advanced vaccination in the country, the State of São Paulo has already immunized almost 90% of the population over 5 years of age with the complete regimen. The rate of hospitalizations in ICU beds is around 37% across the state. The sanitary doctor, warns that it is still necessary to increase immunization, especially the booster dose. It is worth remembering that 59 million Brazilians have not yet taken the booster dose.

Brazil still continues to register a high number of deaths, more than 300 a day, so Professor Gonzalo Vecina says that the goal now is to find medicines to fight Covid-19, as happened with the vaccine. “Managers should go after drugs, which already exist, to be used in the treatment of patients who may have the disease. These people can benefit from early treatment, aimed at patients with comorbidities, to reduce mortality in frail patients, concludes Vecina Neto.

Although the masks lasted 1 year, 10 months and 10 days, the director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom, says – almost two years after declaring the severity of the health crisis caused by covid-19 – that the pandemic it’s far from over.

infectious agents
The infectologist at the Hospital das Clínicas of the Faculty of Medicine (FM) of USP, Álvaro Furtado Costa, also points out that the mask, in addition to protecting against covid, helps to prevent other infectious agents from causing respiratory diseases. “So, we have to remember that the mask is still a very relevant strategy for protection”, which is a good habit left by the pandemic

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