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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces ; 12(50): 56579-56586, 2020 Dec 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-952789


Surgical mask is recommended by the World Health Organization for personal protection against disease transmission. However, most of the surgical masks on the market are disposable that cannot be self-sterilized for reuse. Thus, when confronting the global public health crisis, a severe shortage of mask resource is inevitable. In this paper, a novel low-cost electrothermal mask with excellent self-sterilization performance and portability is reported to overcome this shortage. First, a flexible, ventilated, and conductive cloth tape is patterned and adhered to the surface of a filter layer made of melt-blown nonwoven fabrics (MNF), which functions as interdigital electrodes. Then, a graphene layer with premier electric and thermal conductivity is coated onto the MNF. Operating under a low voltage of 3 V, the graphene-modified MNF (mod-MNF) can quickly generate large amounts of heat to achieve a high temperature above 80 °C, which can kill the majority of known viruses attached to the filter layer and the mask surface. Finally, the optimized graphene-modified masks based on the mod-MNF filter retain a relatively high particulate matter (PM) removal efficiency and a low-pressure drop. Moreover, the electrothermal masks can maintain almost the same PM removal efficiency over 10 times of electrifying, suggesting its outstanding reusability.

Cureus ; 12(11): e11767, 2020 Nov 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1011756


Background The 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted the globe dramatically. It has affected daily life noticeably and the teaching process is one of the significantly affected aspects as the learning approach has been shifted to distance learning (DL). These new changes may affect student performance and emotional well-being. This study aimed to assess the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and distance learning on healthcare students. Method An online self-administered cross-sectional survey was distributed to healthcare students for the period between April 2020 to June 2020. The study included students from different universities in Saudi Arabia. Knowledge and perception of COVID-19 and the experience of distance learning during the pandemic period were assessed using a 5-point Likert scale. Psychological effect was evaluated using Four-Item Patient Health Questionnaire for Anxiety and Depression (PHQ-4). Results A total of 721 students completed the survey with the majority being females. Around 25% of students had experienced anxiety, while 35% had depression. Severe anxiety and depression were noted in over 6% of the participants. Younger age and female gender were more affected psychologically. Students with higher scores in PHQ-4 were strongly disagreeing that hand gloves and surgical masks may help in preventing COVID-19 transmission. Students with normal psychological assessment were more likely to favor DL, while students with moderate to severe anxiety and depression disagreed. Conclusion Healthcare students have alarmingly high levels of anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. General knowledge of the pandemic is not associated with the psychological impact. DL is a convenient approach for students with normal PHQ-4 scores. Programs to help students overcome the psychological impact of COVID-19 are highly recommended.

Ann Intern Med ; 174(3): 335-343, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-965786


BACKGROUND: Observational evidence suggests that mask wearing mitigates transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It is uncertain if this observed association arises through protection of uninfected wearers (protective effect), via reduced transmission from infected mask wearers (source control), or both. OBJECTIVE: To assess whether recommending surgical mask use outside the home reduces wearers' risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection in a setting where masks were uncommon and not among recommended public health measures. DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial (DANMASK-19 [Danish Study to Assess Face Masks for the Protection Against COVID-19 Infection]). ( NCT04337541). SETTING: Denmark, April and May 2020. PARTICIPANTS: Adults spending more than 3 hours per day outside the home without occupational mask use. INTERVENTION: Encouragement to follow social distancing measures for coronavirus disease 2019, plus either no mask recommendation or a recommendation to wear a mask when outside the home among other persons together with a supply of 50 surgical masks and instructions for proper use. MEASUREMENTS: The primary outcome was SARS-CoV-2 infection in the mask wearer at 1 month by antibody testing, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), or hospital diagnosis. The secondary outcome was PCR positivity for other respiratory viruses. RESULTS: A total of 3030 participants were randomly assigned to the recommendation to wear masks, and 2994 were assigned to control; 4862 completed the study. Infection with SARS-CoV-2 occurred in 42 participants recommended masks (1.8%) and 53 control participants (2.1%). The between-group difference was -0.3 percentage point (95% CI, -1.2 to 0.4 percentage point; P = 0.38) (odds ratio, 0.82 [CI, 0.54 to 1.23]; P = 0.33). Multiple imputation accounting for loss to follow-up yielded similar results. Although the difference observed was not statistically significant, the 95% CIs are compatible with a 46% reduction to a 23% increase in infection. LIMITATION: Inconclusive results, missing data, variable adherence, patient-reported findings on home tests, no blinding, and no assessment of whether masks could decrease disease transmission from mask wearers to others. CONCLUSION: The recommendation to wear surgical masks to supplement other public health measures did not reduce the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate among wearers by more than 50% in a community with modest infection rates, some degree of social distancing, and uncommon general mask use. The data were compatible with lesser degrees of self-protection. PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: The Salling Foundations.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Masks , Pandemics/prevention & control , Adult , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19 Serological Testing , Denmark/epidemiology , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Humans , Middle Aged , Physical Distancing , SARS-CoV-2