In the United States, two hairdressers with Covid-19 avoid massive contamination by wearing a mask

Lhe misadventure, first presented as a form of inconsistency, has finally become an example of civic-mindedness regarding the wearing of masks. While they had symptoms of Covid-19, two Missouri hairdressers continued their activity, receiving nearly 140 clients, says the New york times. The case, which raised fears of massive contamination in the town of Springfield, did not give rise to any case of Covid-19.

Wearing a mask has largely contributed to preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the hair salon, as confirmed by a study published on Tuesday July 14, which shows in particular the effectiveness of the mask in enclosed public places. The conclusions of the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which carried out the study, point to a very wide use of the protective mask, presented by scientists as “An essential element of the health prevention system”.

The affair began on May 12, when one of the hairdressers at the Great Clips salon in Springfield experienced difficulty in breathing, one of the symptoms of Covid-19. However, she continues to work, until her colleague develops the same disorders three days later. It was not until May 20, more than a week after the declaration of the first symptoms, that the first hairdresser received a positive test at Covid-19, forcing her colleague to be tested in turn. Two days later, the same result falls.

67 negative tests

In this city of 170,000 inhabitants, where few cases of Covid-19 have been identified, concerns are growing about the risk of massive contamination. While the establishment had reopened two weeks earlier – like all hair salons in this conservative state – the Great Clips had to close for three days. The time required to disinfect the premises and identify customers potentially exposed to the virus.

A total of 139 people were taken care of by one of the two professionals, during meetings that lasted between 15 and 45 minutes. The clients, roughly equally divided between men and women, are between 21 and 93 years of age, with an average age of 52 years. All were offered a screening test and extensive medical monitoring. The 67 people who accepted the test presented negative results. As for the others, they did not develop symptoms in the following two weeks.

“The customers were invited to self-isolate for fourteen days and were daily called or contacted by message; none reported signs or symptoms of Covid-19 “, report the study authors. The rest of the staff were also quarantined for two weeks.

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How to explain that these customers did not present any symptoms? For CDC researchers, the mask “Seems to have played an important role in combating the spread of the epidemic”.

During their interactions with customers, the two employees wore a mask, a two-layer cotton model for the first, a similar model or a surgical type mask for the second. An overwhelming majority of their clients also wore masks while having their hair styled. Between meetings and in the absence of clients, the two colleagues did not cover their faces during their discussions, specifies the authors of the report.

Changing mentalities

A case that prompted residents of Springfield to wear the mask more, according to city officials. Matt Morrow, president of the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce, assures the Washington Post : “More people are wearing masks in public in recent days. ” Clay Goddard, director of the Springfield health department, also noted “A change in practice”. Rather skeptical about the usefulness of the mask, Mr. Goddard now describes himself as a “Fervent defender” of the mask.

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In the United States, as in many countries, its use is still the subject of controversy. In the first weeks of the pandemic, many US officials had ruled out the need to wear masks outside of hospitals, reports the Washington Post. Pressured for weeks to set an example in the face of the explosion of the Covid-19 pandemic, Donald Trump was seen for the first time, Saturday, July 11, wearing a protective mask in public.

Across the country, the debate remains heated. In Orange County, California, faced with opposition from the population, local officials canceled their decree making the mask mandatory, Washington Post, in his article “The epidemic that did not happen”. Last month, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine reversed his decision to require a mask to be worn in stores after he too faced a sling from residents of his state.

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In France, where the authorities’ discourse on masks has largely changed during the health crisis, the mask will be compulsory in closed public places from next week. A measure responding to the call of many scientists. Fourteen doctors notably questioned the public authorities on this subject in a column entitled “Masked but free!” “, Saturday July 11 in The Parisian.

For CDC scientists, this study reinforces their belief that wearing a mask slows the spread of Covid-19. “Widespread adoption of policies requiring face coverage in public places should be considered to reduce the impact and magnitude of possible new waves of Covid-19”, they conclude.

Read also Coronavirus: faced with the resumption of the epidemic in France, the mask will be mandatory in public places closed from next week


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