FFP2 masks have been widespread in everyday life in Austria since the third corona lockdown was relaxed, as they are mandatory in many public areas. While some doubt the sense of wearing them from the start, others are now also using them outdoors, not only at ski lifts or markets and without any regulations. However, their use outdoors has not been proven, as the APA researched.
Experts have long agreed: the risk of corona infection is much higher indoors than in the fresh air. Nevertheless, some people there also pull their FFP2 masks over their noses and mouths.
The reason for this is probably the fear of getting caught in a so-called aerosol cloud. This forms in everyone by breathing out and speaking in front of the mouth and can contain coronaviruses in infected people. When people talk to each other, these aerosols are practically blown into the face of the conversation partner. While viruses can collect in unventilated rooms, the exhaled air in the open air is quickly diluted and transported away, as the Society for Aerosol Research (GAeF) in Cologne explains.
The former President of the International Society for Aerosols in Medicine, Gerhard Scheuch, considers a brief encounter outdoors to be harmless. The amount of viruses that you might get off in passing is not enough for an infection. “Jogging, running, hiking, walking, I consider that to be absolutely harmless.”
The GAeF also gives the all-clear in its position paper: “In the open air there are almost no infections caused by aerosol particles.” However, caution should be exercised in groups in which no minimum distances are observed and / or no masks are worn, for example during longer conversations. So far, for the German Robert Koch Institute, people who stand together with an infected person for longer than 15 minutes without any protection and less than 1.5 meters apart are considered to be contact persons with a “higher risk of infection”.
The GAeF warns that the material will lose its electrical charge over time. Not only the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) warns: “A moistened mask should be removed and changed.”
According to the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics in Kaiserslautern, there is also the risk of a so-called infection bridge between the wearer and the environment: With moist material, even with FFP2 models, for example, coughing or sneezing could throw droplets from the outer surface of the mask into the environment .