Covid-19, flu, bronchiolitis… do you have to wear a mask again at your workplace?

the essential
While pollution is again on the rise in France, the issue of wearing a mandatory mask indoors is coming back more than ever. In any case, it is becoming more and more essential in professional circles where infections are particularly numerous.

A health situation “unprecedented, worrying and full of unknowns”. It is in these terms that Public Health France characterized the French case a few days ago. In the words of Health Minister François Braun, “we are observing the early and simultaneous circulation of three epidemics in our territory: influenza, bronchiolitis and Covid-19”, putting pressure on the French hospital system. As for bronchiolitis – which mainly affects children – the epidemic has reached its peak, although it “continues apace”. Regarding influenza, all French regions entered the epidemic on Wednesday, December 14.

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On the Covid-19 side, as the holidays approach, contamination also remains particularly high: more than 61,000 new cases are registered every day on average in the country. Faced with this increase in viral circulation, “we ask to strengthen the use of masks, as well as barrier movements and vaccination”, urges Brigitte Autran, Chair of the Committee for Monitoring and Prevention of Health Risks (Covars). This particularly tense epidemiological context has already led many French people to put their masks back on, not only in public transport but especially in the workplace.

Lots of pollution in the workplace

It has been nine months since the mask is no longer mandatory in companies, except in certain specialized institutions belonging to the medico-social and health sectors: hospitals, clinics, health centers, offices of doctors and psychologists, osteopaths, chiropractors and psychotherapists, pharmacies , medical analysis laboratories and nursing homes. If the mask is also strong in professional spaces by the authorities, it is because pollution in the workplace is still particularly numerous. According to the latest study by the Institut Pasteur on places of transmission of the disease, dating from June 2021, about 29% of pollution outside the home occurs in the professional environment. This figure naturally depends on the activity sector.

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Covid-19, flu, bronchiolitis … Health Minister François Braun calls for a “leap” from the French to “avoid the worst”

Whatever one may say, in light of the end-of-the-year celebrations and family reunions, wearing a mask can help prevent infections. A recent scientific study published in the journal Scientific reports demonstrating the effectiveness of masks against infections. Research teams have found, for example, that for fabric masks most viruses end up in the middle layer, between the inner and outer layers of the mask. In addition, remote work – when possible – can be a good option to limit pollution to protect against pollution.

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