Fighting coronavirus is like trying to fix a leaky bucket, a pandemic expert said Wednesday; something is going to get out.
“This virus is what I call a leaky bucket virus. If there’s one small micro leak in it, it will get out and it’s going to keep transmitting,” Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, said at a JAMA live event on Wednesday.
There are not many weapons against it, Osterholm said.
“I think distancing, distancing and distancing, really, the only focus we have, and it has proven to be successful,” he said.
Mitigating the spread of infection: Wearing masks can also work, but a lot depends on what people use. N95 respirators, used to protect health care workers, are far more effective than surgical masks or cloth face coverings, for instance, Osterholm said.
“It’s kind of like saying I have a semi-truck, a VW beetle and a trike and they’re all the same because they have tires,” he said.
More work is needed to understand how different types of masks work in the environments they are used in.
Osterholm also pointed out that masks need to be worn correctly to be effective.
CIDRAP has found that 25% of people who use masks are wearing them with their noses uncovered.
“It’s like fixing three of the five screen doors in your submarine. If we’re going to use them we have to use them correctly,” Osterholm said.