Special situations call for a special type of mask
SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus, is primarily transmitted through the air emitted by infected people when they sneeze, cough or talk. Face masks can protect against the risk of infection via this transmission mode by filtering viruses out of the air. Current guidelines on infection protection distinguish between protection against “droplets”, and protection against “airborne aerosols” (finest liquid particles and droplet nuclei; see Infection protection measures as of 14.01.2021 on RKI.de). In the meantime, a large number of different types of masks are available for private and professional use and the question arises: Which mask should I choose for protection against the coronavirus, for what purpose are the different types of masks intended and what are the legal requirements? Both the PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425 and the Medical Device Regulation (EU) 2017/745 provide guidance in this aspect as they lay down essential requirements on health, safety and performance of the products they cover. Below we provide an overview of the different mask types used for coronavirus containment.