The message you must continue to protect yourself with mask, distance, ventilation and hand washing It has been repeated since the beginning of vaccination, but amid the resumption of the pandemic in Europe, it acquires even more importance.

For Angela Domínguez García, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Barcelona, ​​​​“we must not forget that the pandemic is a global problem and that we will have the solution at a global level, combining the vaccination of the more population the better in all countries and the measures of non-pharmacological prevention, which undoubtedly contribute to the reduction of transmission”.

“Vaccines clearly prevent the severe forms of the disease, hospitalizations and deaths”, he adds, but “not the entire population is vaccinated, nor are vaccines effective in 100% of the people to whom they are administered”.

What is happening now in Germany will happen in Spain?

“The waves in each country tend to have their own characteristics, depending on the variant that circulates, the vaccine coverage in the different groups and the monitoring of non-pharmacological prevention measures”, answers Domínguez García, a member of the Spanish Society of Epidemiology.

If coverage is increasing in our country and non-pharmacological prevention measures are followed by the majority, we can expect the impact of the new wave to be smaller in Spain than in Germany

Ángela Domínguez, Spanish Society of Epidemiology

For him, “if coverage is increased in our country and non-pharmacological prevention measures are followed by the majority of citizens, although the variant that circulates in both countries is the same, we can expect the impact of the new wave to be the same. lower in Spain than in Germany”.

Also Teresa Ruiz Cantero, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Alicante, hopes that “mass vaccination will protect us” from critical situations, such as those experienced in other phases of the pandemic. But remember: “This is a pandemic, what happens in other countries will come here too”.

In our favor, in addition to almost 90% of the population with the full standard, is the fact that the climate in Spain still allows us to live outside, says Ruiz Cantero: “The cold comes later”.

Because when social life is mainly indoors, this specialist appeals to what has been learned in these months: “We know that in summer, with more time outdoors, we won’t need the mask as much; in winter, on the contrary”.

The most comprehensive study of the mask confirms its effectiveness

A constant source of uncertainty for those responsible for managing the pandemic, and for citizens themselves, has been determining how much non-pharmacological measures actually protect against contagion. For the first time, a meta-analysis —a work that analyzes the results of several studies on a topic — assesses the available evidence on the effectiveness of masks, interpersonal distance and hand washing, and concludes that, in fact, these measures “are associated with a reduction in the incidence of covid-19”.

For the first time, a large study looks at the effectiveness of masks, interpersonal distance, and handwashing and concludes that, in fact, these measures “are associated with a reduction in the incidence of covid-19”

The study, which brings together the results of eight works – after evaluation of more than seventy – is published in BMJ. Your conclusion – explained on here graphically – it may seem obvious, but the truth is that the lack of research on the effectiveness of behavioral measures is considered one of the great gaps in pandemic science.

Lack of studies on the effectiveness of behavioral measures

the editors of BMJ assert in a editorial: “Although extensive testing of vaccines and drug treatments was conducted during the pandemic, much less was done to assess the effects of social and public health measures.” The lack of “good research” in this area is for BMJ “A pandemic tragedy.”

The experts consulted fully agree. “This work is valuable because it is the first to look in depth at the effectiveness of behavioral measures,” says Ruiz Cantero, “but it also highlights deficiencies in the research; He tells us: ‘we are like that and that’s where we have to go’”.

Specifically, the study highlights – points out Ruiz Cantero – the need for analyzes that measure the indicators in the same way, to enable comparison.

Prospective studies are also needed so that the individual effect of each of the protection measures can be observed in isolation. The authors of the work now published in the BMJ recognize that this is now practically impossible.

Combined effect of multiple measures

Angela Domínguez is of the same opinion: “The study of Stella talic et al. analyzes together the results of studies published by different authors on the effectiveness of non-pharmacological prevention measures, such as hand hygiene, the use of masks and the maintenance of physical distance between people, and concludes that these measures are associated with reduction the incidence of covid-19 cases”.

“The main problem with specifying the contribution of each of these measures is that, in general, they are not adopted separately, but at the same time by the same people (…). It would be interesting to have studies that analyzed how several of these measures together influence the decrease in the incidence of covid-19”, adds Ángela Domínguez.

This researcher reminds that the WHO recommends “Promote studies that help clarify the relative importance of different prevention measures”.

Source: SYNC

Rights: Creative Commons.

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