Surgical masks recommended for high-risk people as COVID-19 omicron variant surges


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – According to the World Health Organization, it might be time to retire cloth masks. Medical experts believe it might not be enough to shield people — especially those at high risk from the more contagious omicron variant.

“Because omicron is so contagious, the recommendation is that people step up the type of masks that they are using,” said Dr. Roxie Wells, President of Cape Fear Valley Hoke Hospital.

She urged people in the high-risk category, including seniors and people with underlying conditions, to wear surgical masks. Those masks are more secured to the face with better filtering to protect. She believes this new variant is spreading for several reasons and masking is part of it.

“I think that people aren’t as careful as they were even if they were vaccinated. They are not as careful as they were in the beginning,” Wells said.

CBS 17 went inside some Raleigh stores and found most people wearing masks. There were a few not wearing anything.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time, I’m not wearing one. If I’m around somebody who feels more comfortable with me wearing one, you know to help them out and to elevate their fears,” one customer said.

“Definitely I think you know an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Wells said.

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