You've heard concerning reports about the multiple new COVID-19 variants, and here are steps you can take to potentially protect yourself from the more contagious form of the virus.
As The Doctors previously shared, the new virus variants are believed to spread more easily from person to person and have caused new lockdowns around the globe. The New York Times notes the same safety precautions (wearing a mask, not gathering indoors with people from outside of your household, and washing your hands) you have been taking to protect yourself from the coronavirus so far will continue to help shield you from the variants.
"It’s not a different virus. All the things we have learned about this virus still apply,” Dr. Ashish K. Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, told the NYT. “It’s not like this variant is somehow magically spreading through other means. Anything risky under the normal strain just becomes riskier with the variant.”
One simple and possibly critical step you can take to protect yourself is to upgrade your face mask, especially for instances where you have to be inside, like going to the grocery store. Dr. Jha suggests using a KF94 mask, which is similar to an N95 mask and made from nonwoven material that shields up to 94 percent of viral particles. The health experts suggest using a KF94 mask for shopping, taking mass transit, or a doctor's appointment and to use a washable cloth mask for outdoor activities.
Luckily, there are many KF94 masks available online.
- Alliable Medical KF94 Masks 5 pack for $18
- Care On KF94 Masks 10 pack for $20
- Puritas KF94 Masks 50 pack for $80
- Flexmon Good Day KF94 Masks for Kids Ages 3-9 10 pack for $21
This type of mask was designed in Korea and has ear loops instead of an elastic headband used in an N95. They can be worn a few times when allowed to air dry, but note: a KF94 mask should not be washed and is meant to be disposed of.
Health experts warn that now is not the time to relax your COVID safety measures and precautions. Some things the experts suggest you consider no longer doing due to the spread of the COVID variant:
- Interacting unmasked with others, especially while indoors
- Dining in restaurants
- Making extra trips to grocery and retail stores
- Traveling when not absolutely necessary
Remember, the goal is to cut down on your potential exposures as much as possible and all the suggestions above will help.
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