FLU, Ira Plato, Sarah Zang discussed on Science Friday
Friday. I'm Ira Plato a bit later in the hour. How effective will vaccines be against new variants of the Corona virus? But first, if you're out of the grocery store or taking a walk, you might see someone sporting the new pandemic trend double masks. Sometimes it's a cloth mask over and and 95. Sometimes it's too fabric masks layer together. If you are already double masked, you may be prescient because this week, Dr Anthony Fauci said the CDC is considering updating its mass guidelines to suggest wearing two masks to protect against new were contagious variants of the Corona virus here to share Maura about the thinking behind the double masking guidelines. And to discuss other science. News of the week is Sarah Zang, staff writer for the Atlantic. Hi, Sarah. Hi, Ira. Good to talk to you again. Nice to have you back, So we just got used to wearing one mask, and now we can anticipate they're saying it's time to up it to to. Well, I confessed to having been someone who has occasionally warrant a double bass myself, mostly in cases where even indoors, talking to other people, which is a kind of a high risk. Covet situation. Right? So, yeah. What are the benefits of to mess while they're a couple of different ways to think about it? One is you're obviously just getting another layer filtration in front of your face. And that, you know, just kind of keeps out any particles but make the bigger benefit is actually having a tighter seal or a tighter fit around your face. I think this is probably especially true if you're wearing a surgical mask, a zoo first layer, which is kind of tend to be fairly loose, especially about your nose and maybe around your chin. Then you might wear a slightly better fitting cloth mask over it, so that you just kind of jump get that here That's coming out. But you know, around your basket, you're actually really through your mask. I wear glasses. So when I walk outside in the cold, it's really obvious to me when I'm asked us not fitting well, but what you're really trying to avoid. Is kind of like breathing around the mass rather than through it. Yeah, I kind of test my masks by putting my fingers on it and see if I'm I'm pressing it. If I'm breathing more through the mask than at the top on the bottom, then I know it's not a good seal. Yeah, Yeah, exactly. And I think if listeners have been lucky enough to get the 95 mask or one of the Kegan 90 five's, you'll probably know this. Those actually do kind of sit against your face a little bit tighter. They'd really do press against your face. Sara. Why do we need double masking at this time? Has it got something to do with the new variants of the Corona virus? Part of it is you want is there's just a lot of Cupid spread in general around right now, but also you variants are more transmissible, You know, variance. Not is not like the It's not going to have magic powers. It's not gonna automatically jump through your mask. But what might be happening is that you might be like less the virus to get sick, So the double mask is just kind of like an extra layer of protection that extra precaution to Kind of protect us against this more transports will very end. There are also reports that the White House is considering sending everyone a cloth mask. Yeah, I think we should have probably done this a year ago. I think that would have really helped. You know, I think it would be great to have mass available for everyone. Certainly, when I walk around outside, I sometimes still people see people wearing scarves. I think it's certainly be better if they were wearing masks. If we could be getting anyone and 95 months, that would be even better. You know. Also, one of the things we haven't talked about, much is the flu season. It's like run under the radar screen, and there is so many fewer cases of flu. Is that from the mask wearing or just people social distancing or both, do you think Yeah. Yeah, Flu has like almost completely disappeared. It's it's probably a little bit of both. I think what we're seeing is that our measures that are being used to contain covert or been really, really good at containing flu. So you know, as you mentioned were wearing masks more. There's more social distancing, and a lot of schools are also closed. Or, you know they're also kind of precautions in place in schools in the past, you know, kids tend to be a pretty big vector for flu's. I think that's probably another reason we're just seeing very, very little of it. But, yeah, it's really astonishing. If you're just talking to people in public health, and I think it shows that Cove it is a lot more infectious in the flu and and and flu shots are people getting flu shots at the regular rate, or has that Dropped off. Also, that's a good question they knew earlier last year, people were really trying to encourage people get flu shots because we're afraid of a quote unquote twinned Emmick of Cupid and the flu. I don't know if there's a way we have the numbers for this year yet, but I think the flu drops off have been so dramatic that just vaccination alone without explain it. Let's talk about other co vid related news. We got some new data this week from the U. K and the U. K is looking into whether you can mix a shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine. With a shot of the Fizer or a modern a vaccine, I guess sort of mixing and matching. Tell us tell us how that would work and what they're studying. Yeah, yeah, The UK is starting a trial to see if you can mix and match these vaccines. So the idea of why you would want to do this is partly just because we'll be a lot easier, right? If you you know when you have all these food vaccines. If you don't have to worry about making sure you have exactly the same one. I'll just Be easier to administer. There's sort of no specific reason to think that there it would be bad and there's no specific reason to think that they would not work. But we always just what I run the trials and have the data to make sure there's nothing unexpected. The reason we might think that two different doses of two different vaccines will probably work is because basically all of the vaccines we have have a very similar target. So you know vaccines kind of present a snapshot of the virus for your system. Basically all the vaccines present exact same snapshot. It's the spec protein of the coroner Various and so what's different about the AstraZeneca best team and the Visor vaccine is not the snapshot representing but the way they're getting into yourself..