Read this article first before reading the rest of this post.
While I am not an expert in infection control, my personal experience led me to consider that N95 is better than a surgical mask in preventing the Wuhan virus. (which a currently deemed as a family of the coronaviruses such as the common flu or SARS)
While there are some comments that it is not as severe as SARS, I think that it is prudent to maintain the same amount of mindfulness as during the SARS period.
Going back to the Straits time article, we can see that Prof Leo (National Centre for Infectious Diseases executive director) has recommended that to use a surgical mask instead .. but why?
Reasons Given and my thoughts
1) They are for medical staff
Which are front-line staffs, who will be facing the cases directly? So n95 is more effective right, otherwise, why will you say they are for medical staff?
2) The public will find them uncomfortable
This is the same as using a condom. It is definitely “uncomfortable” for extended periods, whether you use N95 or the surgical mask.
3) Incorrect usage will result in inadequate protection
If there is a tool that will work properly when used incorrectly, please kindly let me know…
I would, however, like to guess the intention of this article. First of all, it is to create awareness about the situation and secondly, hopefully, reduce the number of people queuing to buy out all the N95 in pharmacies.
A quick google can provide some evidence on which is the superior choice.
For those who have time to read, this link will point to a mini Q&A of some sorts regarding the masks.
TLDR: Surgical masks are not designed for use as particulate respirators and do not provide as much respiratory protection as an N95 respirator.
It is good to be updated on the latest happening but sometimes, by just slowing down and think through things, we might discover something else.