But there are also more skeptical voices about the FFP2 obligation. “I don’t think that makes a big difference,” said Johannes Knobloch, head of hospital hygiene at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, of the German press agency. “In the worst case scenario, things can get worse because people feel more protected and are less cautious.”
A FFP2 mask requires great expertise, it comes from occupational safety and is not intended for laypeople. “If it is not put on absolutely tightly, it does not work better than a simple disposable mask,” says Knobloch. The breathing resistance is greater with the denser FFP2 masks than with the simple plastic or self-sewn fabric masks. “I always breathe at least partially through a fabric mask, but if there is a small gap somewhere on the face with an FFP2 mask, almost all of the air goes through there – and with it the virus.”
It is also unclear to many people that beards cannot wear an FFP2 mask tightly, explained Knobloch. “Men can only wear it with clean-shaven skin.”
The President of the Society for Aerosol Research, Christof Asbach, warns against misconceptions regarding the safety of FFP2 masks. These would not offer 100% protection even if they were worn perfectly, Asbach told the German press agency. According to the requirements, the masks would have to filter 94 percent of the particles – 6 percent still passed. “You also generally have to free yourself from the idea that there is one single measure that reduces the risk of infection to zero.” A mix is important.
According to Asbach, it makes little difference whether the respirators are from classes FFP2, N95 or KN95.
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