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Should you wear a mask? Tips for navigating with a mask (optional Canada).

As masks are now optional in most public places and Quebec has recently joined in relaxing the rest of Canada, the mental gymnastics that may or may not be necessary to determine whether masking is necessary may seem crucial in making advanced calculations.

But even if the rules change about where masks are needed, some people may still choose to wear them – as they did before the mandate came into force.

To help Canadians assess the best health for themselves and their loved ones, CBC News asked airborne experts to consider when, where and for whom masking is still recommended.

Does the mask work if I’m the only person wearing it?

The message from public health officials in much of the pandemic was that masks work best when everyone wears them.

However, according to Steve Rogak, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of British Columbia, a KN95 or higher offers good protection if you want to protect yourself indoors.

Rogak, based in Vancouver, is researching all kinds of aerosols and has tested the effectiveness of various masking materials during a pandemic.

“If you have an N95 mask… and you see that it doesn’t leak from the edges and it’s nice and comfortable, then I’d say it’s a very good protection.”

“It catches a lot more than 90 percent of the virus, probably more than 99 percent,” Rogak said.

Experts say that N95 Particulate Respirator face masks, as seen here, are extremely effective in protecting people from SARS-CoV-2 infection when they fit snugly. (Tyson Koschik / CBC)

While N95 is generally considered the gold standard for masks and is often used by healthcare professionals, the KN95 mask material is also very effective, Rogak said.

KN95 is China’s equivalent of N95, and Rogak said they trap about 90 percent of the virus particles as long as they fit well.

Both Rogak and Parisa Ariya, director of atmospheric and interface chemistry laboratories at McGill University in Montreal, agreed that the revocation did not mean the virus had disappeared.

“We should not close our eyes and believe that everything is gone,” said Ariya, who studies the spread of airborne viruses and is a leading expert in the study of the spread of bioaerosols.

He compared the virus particles to a computer software algorithm – even if you can’t see it with the naked eye, it still exists and works.

“Viruses are physical entities. Physical bodies. And the idea of ​​a mask – it’s nothing new – it prevents and reduces the spread.”

Professor Steve Rogak, a mechanical engineer who has tested the effectiveness of various masks, should capture about 90 percent of the SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, as seen here. (CBC)

Who should consider wearing a mask?

Many public health agencies still recommend that Canadians wear masks indoors in public places, especially those at higher risk of severe COVID-19 sequelae.

In fact, according to current guidelines from the Canadian Public Health Agency, everything has been disguised.

“We recommend wearing a mask indoors,” the agency said on its website.

“You should feel free to wear the mask even if it is not required in your community or environment. It is an appropriate personal decision.”

The man is wearing a medical mask while walking on Bloor Street East in Toronto on May 10, 2022. Most provincial public health authorities recommend that older people and those at higher risk of severe COVID-19 wear masks. (Alex Lupul / CBC)

Most provincial health authorities emphasize that older people should continue to wear masks, as well as those with certain medical conditions and people who are pregnant or have recently given birth. Alberta recommends that people at risk of serious consequences wear medical masks, and the Ontario Chief Medical Officer urges everyone to wear masks indoors.

Dr Luc Boileau, the interim director of public health in Quebec, recently said that anyone with symptoms of COVID, whether positive or not, should hide because you do not have to be sure that it is COVID to be cautious.

Where should people consider wearing a mask?

In most provinces, masks are still in demand in health care facilities and other indoor environments with vulnerable populations, such as long-term care homes. Some areas, including Alberta, Quebec and Ontario, still require masks for public transportation.

Ariya said that despite the rules, she prefers to wear a mask indoors, especially when the room is full of strangers.

“When I take the subway, I wear my mask. Is that something I like to do? Absolutely not, especially in the summer. But it’s a tribute,” he said.

“If you are more receptive or have a grandmother or mother or family [members] who have a weakened immune system, I would wear one. I don’t think it’s too much to do for a loved one. “

Rogak agrees and says that he personally prefers to wear a well-fitting mask whenever he is indoors with many strangers.

Masks are now optional in most public indoor spaces in Canada, such as the Toronto Eaton Center Mall, pictured here on March 24, 2022. (Evan Mitsui / CBC)

“I’m comfortable walking through a sparsely populated room with one or two people at the end – the chances of getting one are very low,” he said.

“But if you get stuck in a crowded room for half an hour or an hour with five or six people you don’t know, I don’t feel comfortable. [without a mask]”

Rogak said that without mandatory restrictions, Canadians must now take responsibility for their choices.

The Canadian Public Health Agency recently launched a new COVID-19 wastewater monitoring dashboard to help people make informed decisions based on COVID-19 trends.

The tool is designed to give people the information they need to make informed decisions in the future.

“The risks have not changed overnight just because the mask’s mandate is disappearing,” Rogak said.

SEE Is your mask fake? This can be said as follows.

How to determine if your respirator or N95-style mask is fake

CBC Marketplace tested KN95 and KF94 masks sold online and in major stores. Half of them did not offer the protection they should offer.