With the rise seen in recent cases reported on COVID- 19 and other contagious diseases, it appears that the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) has ordered its personnel to mask- up while undertaking patient care. The order is intended to be effective immediately with the FDNY suggesting that an N95 is preferred.
The decision to have firefighters, ambulance staff and other personnel engaged in providing emergency care wear a surgical mask seems to have risen from the increase in the spread of contagious diseases such as flu besides COVID- 19 in the State. There is a high chance that diseases (caused primarily by viruses) could spread to the personnel while on duty due to their close contact with potentially infected patients.
It has been almost 4 years since the COVID outbreak plagued the whole world. With the rapid spreading of the virus, masks became necessary for protection from the pathogen. Though people have been recovering, COVID- 19 does pose a huge challenge to public health even today. Given that there have been reports on the spread of contagious diseases in New York City, the precaution ordered is definitely a necessity. But, a question remains on whether or not masks alone will be effective in fending off diseases. Experts confirm that surgical masks do reduce the inhalation of pathogens to a large extent and hence are effective. N95 masks offer a high protection against not just air borne diseases but also contact with fluids.That being said, the fire department and ambulance staff will have to take extra care while delivering patient care with the alarming spreading rate of diseases. Wearing surgical masks can also benefit the public with the current state in New York as it can help in avoiding any potential threat of diseases spreading from one to another.