More expensive and harder to find than their surgical counterparts, FFP2 masks are often touted as more protective. While the contagiousness of Omicron caused the number of Covid-19 contaminations to soar in France, the Nord departmental council decided to distribute nearly two million of these filter masks to its inhabitants.
More specifically, it is a question of a stock of 1.7 million FFP2 masks, which have remained unused since 2020. This Monday, January 24, the president of the departmental council of the North, Christian Poiret, made the decision to make the benefit its constituents, “in order to contribute to the containment of the Omicron variant of Covid-19”.
— Christian POIRET (@christianpoiret) January 24, 2022
According to information from the Ministry of Health, FFP2 masks protect the wearer from the risk of inhalation of infectious agents transmissible by air but also by droplets. They are equipped with a filtration device, which distinguishes them from surgical masks, which are more intended to prevent contamination of those around them. These prevent the projection of saliva or secretions from the upper airways of the wearer.
Since the North has more than 2.5 million inhabitants, not everyone will be able to take advantage of the distribution organized by the county council. Also, the institution has planned a precise distribution, targeting certain audiences.
Thus, “within two weeks and before the school holidays”, the departmental advisers will be responsible for allocating 82,000 protections to the “most exposed structures” in their cantons. At the same time, 331,000 FFP2 will be allocated to colleges, i.e. more than 1,000 per establishment, and family assistants, numbering 2,500 in the North, will be entitled to 100 masks each.
Finally, most of the stock, that is to say more than a million masks, will be distributed between the 648 municipalities of the department. These communities will be allocated 1,600 FFP2 each and will decide themselves on “the use that seems most appropriate to protect the population”.