MANILA, Mar 8 (Mabuhay) –Face masks with gaps such as that of the popular CopperMask appeared to be not as effective in protecting users against COVID-19, the Department of Health on Monday reiterated, as reported cases of the respiratory disease rose anew.

“Tayo po sa DOH we don’t recommend masks that have gaps sa gilid ng ating mask, sa taas at ilalim po. We are aware po that the Coppermask has a slit or butas po sa ilalim ng baba so it might not be that good of a mask for COVID-19 prevention,” said Dr. Rodley Carza, head of the DOH’s Policy and Technology Division, during a media briefing.

Carza said DOH only swears by “masks that are properly fitted,” when asked if officials could regulate influencers who are promoting CopperMask.

“We highly recommend that we use masks that are properly fitted sa inyong mukha at walang gaps in between your nose, sa gilid ng ating mukha at sa ilalim ng ating baba.”

(We highly recommend that we use masks that are properly fitted to your face and do not have gaps in between your nose, the side of your face and underneath your chin.)

While copper-infused face masks have become popular due to its alleged antimicrobial layer, some types reportedly have an opening at the bottom of the mask or on the chin.

Sellers have branded CopperMask as giving “double protection with style.” It retails from P350-400 per piece.

The brand has become controversial after hospitals banned its use. In January, some hospitals came out with signs reminding people to only wear surgical or cloth masks and not copper face masks and masks with valves.

Some hospitals also did not recommend the use of masks or respirators with exhalation valves, vents, slits or holes.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire also previously said that copper masks are not medical-grade face masks.

COVID-19 cases in the Philippines has reached almost 600,000, and logged new daily record-highs on Sunday, due to a combination of lax health protocols and the entry of the virus’s new variants.  (MNS)

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