Experts support the end of the mask indoors

Experts support removing the mask from the interiors because the covid-19 has become, for the most part, a mild sickness. “It’s okay to do it, but with precisions: it is a priority to remove them in schools, where infections are mild or asymptomatic, and indoors where there is healthy adults. But it is essential to keep them in vulnerable people,” points Jose Manuel Cisneros the president of the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (Seimc).

Seimc claims to keep the mask on hospitals, social health centers or nursing homes, where there are people in whom the protection of the vaccine is less and they can become seriously ill. “The mask has been an extraordinary public health benefit that anticovid measures have brought and must be maintained,” adds Cisneros. Along with him, epidemiologists such as Antoni Trilla, Head of Preventive Medicine at Hospital Clínic, or infectologists such as Benedict Admiral, Head of Infectious Diseases of Vall d’Hebron, they also believe that it is time to remove the mask from the interiors. Trilla supports Catalonia’s proposal: remove the indoor mask after it has been removed from all classrooms.

However, the measure is rejected by the president of the immunologists, Marcos López Hoyos, who pointed out this Wednesday that, with an incidence of around per 400 cases per 100,000 inhabitantsit is “premature” to dispense with the protective garment.

The pandemic icon

Be that as it may, Spain has entered the countdown so that the mask, the most iconic garment of the pandemic, be banished forever or at least stop being used in certain interiors and by some groups. The clock started ticking when on February 21 Pedro Sanchezjust 11 days after protection was no longer mandatory outdoors, announced that “Sooner than later” the mask would also not be necessary indoors. A promise that he reiterated last weekend in the federal committee of the PSOE.

However, on Tuesday in an informal conversation with journalists during the flight to latvia pointed out that we still have to be aware of the evolution of the curve given the rebound that some communities have experienced. Likewise, he stated that it remains to be seen whether the alert presentation, which brings together the experts, advises that it be removed first in schools, as the pediatricians have requested, or demands that it be done in a more generic way, reports Juanma Romero.

The date, according to these statements, it seems that it is not yet clear. However, the Madrid’s community has indicated that he will request this Wednesday, in the preparatory meeting prior to the meeting that will be held tomorrow by the Ministry of Health and the communities in Zaragoza, that masks be suppressed indoors except in residences, hospitals and public transport. But this topic is not on the agenda, dedicated monographically to the surveillance system, which could be made more flexible given the lower virulence of covid, thanks to extensive vaccination coverage.

Holy Week

Sánchez’s first announcement about the possibility of relaxing the use of masks indoors was made when the incidence was plummeting but now has slowed down and there has been a small rebound in some communities, which coincides with a progressive extension of the BA.2 subvariant, the so-called ómicron stealthywhat is more transmissible and already accounts for 30% of infections in Catalonia or Madrid.

For this reason, some epidemiologists are of the opinion that Spain should wait until it is below 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitantssomething that could happen around Holy Week, if the drop in incidence continues. In other countries, by contrast, you won’t wait as long and in France It will no longer be compulsory in companies on March 14, an iconic date that coincides with the second anniversary of the start of confinement in Spain.

However, Cisneros, from the Seimc, believes that the epidemiological indicators (Rt, incidence, positivity…) “They no longer have to be at the head of the infection control” because covid-19 is no longer the same disease as before. “There are still infections, but it is important that we treat it as it is now: mucus. Quarantines, which generate work absences and psychological isolation, do not make sense,” he says.

Trilla, for example, believes that the mask should be kept in the inside shops and in crowds, but he believes that it should be a recommendation and not an imposition. “In transport should continue to be maintained”, precise. For Admiral, the removal of face masks inside the premises is a measure that had to be considered “one day or another” and now “It’s the right time.” “The United Kingdom, France, northern Europe… have taken this measure and have had no problems,” says this infectologist from Vall d’Hebron.

no consensus

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Madrid is the only autonomy that has been openly in favor of indoor withdrawal. Basque Country has requested that it still be because the experts consider that “it is still early for the relaxation of all the preventive measures”. and the rest of communities has not expressed a clear position, appealing to “consensus” and the need for the decision to be agreed upon in the technical bodies. Catalonia He has aligned himself with pediatricians and has demanded that the masks be removed first in the classrooms (they even asked that it be from February 28) and then, progressively, in other spaces.

The next important meeting between the Government and the autonomies is the Conference of Presidents next Sunday in La Palma, where the president could do some ad related to the mask, given that he has been the one who has starred in the notices in this regard and the modification of the royal decree is government jurisdiction. In fact, the end of the mandatory outdoor use was unilaterally communicated by Health, but in this case by the minister Caroline Darias.

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